DOJ announced that Gary James Harmon of Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison for stealing over 712 bitcoin. The bitcoin, which was worth approximately $4.8 million at the time of the theft, were the proceeds of the darknet bitcoin mixer Helix and subject to forfeiture in a then-pending criminal case against Harmon's brother, Larry Dean Harmon.
Larry Harmon was arrested in February 2020 for operating Helix, a darknet-based cryptocurrency money laundering service, also known as a "mixer" or "tumbler." Helix allegedly laundered over 350,000 bitcoin, valued at more than $300 million at the time, on behalf of its customers, primarily from darknet markets. Following the arrest, law enforcement seized various assets, including a cryptocurrency storage device that contained Larry Harmon's illegal proceeds generated through the operation of Helix. However, the device's additional security features initially prevented law enforcement from recovering the bitcoin. Crypto Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog
The government alleged that Gary Harmon took advantage of their inability to access the bitcoin on the seized device by using his brother's credentials to recreate the wallets stored on it. The government further alleged he then covertly transferred over 712 bitcoin to his own wallets, stealing the funds and obstructing the pending criminal forfeiture proceeding against his brother. To further conceal the theft, Gary Harmon was alleged to have laundered the proceeds through two online bitcoin mixer services before using the laundered bitcoins to finance large purchases and other expenditures.
As part of his sentence, Gary Harmon agreed to the forfeiture of cryptocurrencies and other properties derived from the fraudulently obtained proceeds, including over 647.41 Bitcoin (BTC), 2.14 Ethereum (ETH), and 17,404,400.64 Dogecoin (DOGE). Due to the increase in market prices, the total value of these forfeitable properties now exceeds $20 million.
This blog post was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT-4 AI. Nothing in this post should be considered legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This blog is strictly for informational purposes only.