Founder of Bitcoin Mixer Penalized $60 Million by FinCEN

In recent news, the founder and administrator of Helix and Coin Ninja Larry Dean Harmon has been penalized $60 million by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). As per the news, Mr. Harmon has been penalized for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its implementing regulations.

As per FinCEN, Mr. Harmon is currently being prosecuted on conspiracy charges to launder monetary instruments and the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. This concerning his connection with Helix (2014-2017) and Coin Ninja (2017-2020). Helix, during its operations, conducted over 1,225,000 transactions worth $311 million. Among these transactions, the investigation has already identified a count of over 356,000 Bitcoin transactions through Helix.

According to the Department of the Treasury in its 2013 guidelines and further clarification in 2019, Bitcoin Mixer operations must be registered with FinCEN. They’re also supposed to develop, implement, and maintain an anti-money laundering compliance program.

Mr. Harmon, however, failed to collect KYC disregarding his obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) while operating Helix. The investigation also reveals Mr. Harmon being actively indulging in deleting the customer information he did collect. At the same time, facilitating transactions with criminals such as narcotics traffickers, counterfeiters, and fraudsters.

As per the civil money penalty, FinCEN may impose a civil money penalty of $57,317 for each willful violation of
AML program requirements are assessed on or after October 10, 2019. It is also worth noting that the BSA states a “separate violation for each day that the violation continues.” FinCEN also considers these violations to be of a serious and egregious nature.

What are Bitcoin Mixers?

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Bitcoin mixers are basically solutions aimed at preserving users’ anonymity by mixing their coins with other users. The use of Bitcoin mixers is prevalent, especially on the dark web. However, it is worth clarifying that coin mixing is not just for criminals. Privacy is a human right, and coin mixers offer privacy to spend your coins without being traced.

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