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Million dollar question: The curious case of disappearing cryptos

Regarding crypto law enforcement, Larry Harmon's arrest in February 2020 was a turning point

Gary Harmon smirked in a Jacuzzi filled with cash and surrounded by scantily clad women. The incident, recorded on a cellphone photo, might prove to be part of his downfall. It is proof that he had unexpectedly become very wealthy in the eyes of the United States authorities.

In a separate case against his older brother, Larry Harmon, the authorities had previously confiscated a computer device, which the prosecutors accused Harmon of remotely accessing and stealing. Seven hundred thirteen digital tokens, worth roughly USD 5 million, were stolen from the “hardware wallet” held in an evidence locker while officials watched helplessly.

Larry Harmon swore with all his heart that he had nothing to do with the disappearing act but has since admitted to laundering USD 311 million through cryptocurrency transactions. Instead, Larry Harmon, 39, blamed Gary Harmon, 30, and ultimately assisted in getting him arrested. While Larry is out on bail and waiting for a trial near Akron, Gary Harmon is being detained in a federal prison in Washington, DC. The cases involving the Harmons—literal crypto brothers—illustrate how the IRS and the FBI are gathering evidence successfully but are still having trouble on the blockchain front.

Authorities followed it as it passed through a maze of anonymous accounts to link the digital money to Larry Harmon. When they attempted to take it, they ran into a challenge: how do you surround a quicksilver asset like Bitcoin with a fence?

Regarding crypto law enforcement, Larry Harmon’s arrest in February 2020 was a turning point. It was the first time someone had been charged with crimes linked to “mixing,” a process that makes it considerably harder to trace transactions by combining tokens from multiple owners and the significant amounts of money involved.

Larry Harmon developed the Grams search engine in 2014 to assist users in searching the darknet for illegal weapons, drugs, and hacking services. Users may then pay using the mixing service Larry Harmon operated, Helix, which paid him 2.5% of each transaction.

Advocates of mixing in the crypto community claim that it improves privacy. But Larry Harmon promoted Helix to prevent law enforcement from tracking contaminated Bitcoin online under the alias “gramsadmin.”

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