FinCEN Slams the Operator of Bitcoin Mixer With a $60M Penalty For Violating the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act

Larry Dean Harmon, the operator of some cryptocurrency mixing services such as Helix and Coin Ninja has been fined by the bureau of the United States Treasury Department the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). According to an official announcement of FinCEN published on Monday, October 19, 2020, the US Treasury Department’s bureau has penalized the operator of Bitcoin mixer with a fine of $60 million for violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of the United States.

As per the announcement, the cryptocurrency mixing service Helix has been being run as an unregistered money services business (MSB) by Harmon during the period between 2014 and 2017. Harmon also operated another Bitcoin mixing service known as Coin Ninja as an unregulated entity from 2017 to 2020.

FinCEN said in the announcement that Harmon did not report any suspicious illicit activity neither he maintained the anti-money laundering program. Moreover, he failed in registering its coin mixing services Helix and Coin Ninja as Money Services Business (MCB). The investigation unveiled that Harmon has violated the Bank Secrecy Act and its regulations intentionally and willfully.

The investigation also revealed that while being operated as an unregulated MSB from June 2014 to Dec 2017, more than 1,225,000 transactions were conducted on Helix. Reportedly, an amount of more than $311 million was sent or received via a cryptocurrency wallet address that was linked with the Bitcoin mixer Helix. Moreover, as per a document of FinCEN, Helix engaged in approximately 356,000 Bitcoin (BTC) transactions as well.

FinCEN’s document stated that the services of Helix were advertised in the internet’s darkest places by Harmon that allowed customers to use this mixing service anonymously for activities like child pornography, guns, and drugs. Similarly, Coin Ninja was also used for illicit purposes as well.

Currently, Harmon is “being prosecuted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on charges of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business in connection with his operation of Helix,” FinCEN said.

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