The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has charged Bitcoin mixer operator Larry Dean Harmon with a $60 million penalty for allegedly violating the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) laws.
Harmon is the founder, administrator, and chief operator of two Bitcoin mixer platforms named Helix and Coin Ninja. According to FinCEN, Harmon did not register Helix as a money services business (MSB) from 2014 up to 2017; neither did he with Coin Ninja beginning 2017 up to this year.
Since 2014, Harmon was able to facilitate at least 1,225,000 transactions and has sent or received more than $311 million.
The announcement particularly added,
Mr. Harmon operated Helix as a bitcoin mixer, or tumbler, and advertised its services in the darkest spaces of the internet as a way for customers to anonymously pay for things like drugs, guns, and child pornography.
FinCEN asserted that Harmon did the same with Coin Ninja. With this, his prosecution commences in the US for “willfully” violating the country’s Bank Secrecy Act. This is a result of not registering Helix and Coin Ninja as MSBs. Moreover, he neither maintained an AML program nor reported any suspicious activity.
The US has been known for having stringent laws against cryptocurrencies. While some may believe that Harmon’s penalty is justified, others believe that other countries have better legislative temperament concerning crypto. In fact, Ripple Executive Chairman Chris Larsen warned that they are planning to relocate from their San Francisco headquarters to more crypto-friendly countries like the UK and Singapore.