Ohio fraudster steals $21m Bitcoin

A 31-year-old man from Cleveland has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

A criminal in Ohio has been convicted of stealing $21m worth of Bitcoin (BTC) from his sibling.

Gary James Harmon was sentenced to four years and three months after being found guilty of “perpetrating a scheme to steal cryptocurrency that was pending criminal forfeiture”. His brother is the now-convicted money launderer and proprietor of Grams-Helix Larry Dean Harmon.

Coin-mixing service Grams-Helix processed more than 350,000 BTC between 2014 and 2017 and was heavily involved with multiple darknet markets, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The 712 BTC in question was originally stolen back in February 2020 by Larry Harmon and was worth around $4.8m at the time.

By recreating BTC wallets with his brother’s credentials, Gary Harmon was able to send himself the coins and laundered the assets further, dispatching the stolen BTC to two other mixing services, authorities said.

After the 712 BTC was seized, Gary Harmon agreed to forfeit further cryptocurrencies, to the value of 17.4 million Dogecoin (amounting to 647 BTC) and just over two Ethereum, altogether valuing more than $20m, to the DOJ.

Coin mixers are seen as a necessity in the crypto sector and are valued for their help in maintaining the privacy of crypto transactions.

However, government officials are not in favour of the service and believe them to be an accessory to the success of many criminals and hackers' motives.

Last year, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions against the coin mixer Tornado Cash and banned people from any engagement with the application.

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Written by Isabella Aslam

Reporter

Isabella is an experienced writer in B2B and B2C journalism. Alongside crypto, Isabella writes and discusses the topics of relationships and psychology. Isabella holds a first-class degree in music journalism and often interviews electronic artists and DJs.

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