The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has assessed a bitcoin mixing operator with a $60 million fine for unregistered money services business to launder money.
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According to an official statement, the civil money penalty against Larry Dean Harmon, the founder and operator of Helix and Coin Ninja crypto-focused mixers, has been prosecuted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on charges of conspiracy for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
The regulator claims Harmon operated Helix without license from 2014 to 2017 and Coin Ninja from 2017 to 2020. At Helix, he conducted over 1,225,000 transactions for its customers and was associated with cryptocurrency wallet addresses that sent or received over $311 million dollars.
"FinCEN’s investigation revealed that Mr. Harmon willfully violated the BSA’s registration, program, and reporting requirements by failing to register as a MSB, failing to implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, and failing to report suspicious activities," the watchdog said.
FinCEN highlights Harmon "deliberately disregarded" obligations under the BSA and used Helix to circumvent the BSA’s requirements. Harmon did not collect or verified customer names, addresses, or other identifiers on over 1.2 million transactions although he served narcotics traffickers, counterfeiters and fraudsters, as well as other criminals.
In February 2020, the regulator said that all the social networking and messaging platforms that are focused on creating their own cryptocurrency assets cannot ignore the fact that their products can contribute to illegal transactions.
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