Gary Harmon admitted to stealing the money after his brother, Larry, was caught running a massive crypto laundering scheme.
WASHINGTON — A Cleveland man will spend the next four years and three months in federal prison for his role in a multi-million-dollar cryptocurrency scheme.
Gary Harmon received his sentence Friday in Washington, D.C.’s U.S. District Court. The 31-year-old previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud and obstruction of justice after stealing more than 712 bitcoin, valued at roughly $4.8 million.
According to the Department of Justice, the case has its roots in an earlier plot perpetrated by Harmon’s older brother, Akron native Larry Harmon. Larry ran a crypto money laundering service known as Helix, and prosecutors say he used the dark web to pilfer more than 350,000 bitcoin that was worth upwards of $300 million at the time.
Larry Harmon was arrested in February 2020 and had his assets seized, but during the proceedings, Gary Harmon purportedly used his brothers credentials to illegally transfer hundreds of bitcoin to his own pockets and hide the money from possible forfeiture. He then sent the currency through multiple “mixer” services and used the proceeds “to finance large purchases and other expenditures.”
Gary Harmon was eventually arrested, and besides the bitcoin authorities also confiscated about 2 Ethereum and more than 17 million in Dogecoin. Per the DOJ, the total value of these crypto stashes exceeds $20 million.
Back in August of 2021, Larry Harmon pleaded guilty to orchestrating the Helix plot. He has not yet been sentenced, but faces up to 20 years behind bars.
“The Darknet is driven in part by the criminal marketplaces which peddle their nefarious goods and services,” Chief James C. Lee of the IRS Criminal Investigation unit said at the time. “But these marketplaces thrive in large measure because of the infrastructure that supports them. [Larry] Harmon profited by facilitating the back-channel support of these marketplaces and helped criminals launder money they received via illicit activities. He then hid those funds from the government. He admitted his role … in these activities and will now be held accountable.”