- Larry Harmon, founder of the Helix mixing service, was behind the arrest of his younger brother, Gary
- Gary is accused of stealing and laundering ₿713 from a Trezor wallet kept in police evidence
- Gary allegedly accessed the wallet from the seed phrase and stole the funds
The brother of Larry Harmon, the creator of the Bitcoin mixing service Helix, is accused of swiping ₿713 from under the noses of the U.S. authorities – and it was Larry that helped nail him. The extraordinary story, reported yesterday by Bloomberg, explains how the elder Harmon, who has admitted laundering hundreds of millions of dollars through Helix, pointed the finger at his younger brother after the contents of Larry’s Trezor wallet were stolen while it was held in a police evidence locker in 2020.
Bitcoin Disappeared From Trezor Wallet
Larry Harmon was arrested in February 2020 over the creation and operation of Helix, which he ran between 2014 and 2017, and pleaded guilty to laundering $311 million worth of crypto through the service. When he was arrested, one of the possessions taken by police as evidence included a Trezor wallet with “tens of millions” of dollars worth of crypto on it. The device couldn’t be accessed because they didn’t have the login codes.
However, just a few weeks after his arrest, bitcoin began disappearing from the addresses tied to the device, something that could only happen if someone had the device (which was locked in an evidence lockup), or they had access to the seed phrase and password. Larry swore blind that he wasn’t behind the theft, and instead pointed the finger at his younger brother, Gary, providing evidence against him in return for a lesser sentence.
Gary Accused of Laundering the Funds
Authorities began building a case against Gary and arrested him in July 2021, accusing him of money laundering and other crimes. Bail was requested but would only be granted if Gary turned over seed phrases to the stolen bitcoin, something that his lawyer argued would force him to admit crimes, which violates his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
As a result, Gary Harmon is set to stand trial in February, while his brother, Larry, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced. No doubt when the pair are both finally released, Christmas dinner won’t quite be the same.