(OHIO) Justice Dept Court Report: Resident Pleads Guilty to Operating Darknet-Based Bitcoin ‘Mixer’ That Laundered Over $300 Million #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.20: According to court documents, Larry Dean Harmon, 38, of Akron, admitted that he operated Helix from 2014 to 2017. Helix functioned as a bitcoin “mixer” or “tumbler,” allowing customers, for a fee, to send bitcoin to designated recipients in a manner that was designed to conceal the source or owner of the bitcoin. Helix was linked to and associated with “Grams,” a Darknet search engine also run by Harmon. Harmon advertised Helix to customers on the Darknet to conceal transactions from law enforcement.

#AceDailyNews report that an Ohio man pleaded guilty today to a money laundering conspiracy arising from his operation of Helix, a Darknet-based cryptocurrency laundering service that was linked to and associated with “Grams,” a search engine also run by Harmon. Harmon advertised Helix to customers on the Darknet to conceal transactions from law enforcement……

“By holding Harmon accountable, the department has disrupted the unlawful money laundering practices of these dangerous criminal enterprises,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Justice Department, together with our law enforcement and regulatory partners, will continue to take enforcement actions to identify and impede those who use illicit means for financial gain, as well as those who use the Darknet to facilitate and obscure their criminal conduct.”

“Darknet markets and the dealers who sell opioids and other illegal drugs on them are a growing scourge,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia. “They may try to hide their identities and launder millions in sales behind technologies like Helix. But the department and its law enforcement partners will shine a light on their activities, dismantle the infrastructure such criminal marketplaces depend on, and prosecute and convict those responsible.”

“Criminals may think they can mask financial transactions by using services like Helix to conceal the source of illicit funds,” said Assistant Director Calvin A. Shivers of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI and our state, local, federal and international law enforcement partners are working together every day in a complex and ever-changing digital environment to protect the American people from sophisticated money launderers and financiers.”

“The Darknet is driven in part by the criminal marketplaces which peddle their nefarious goods and services,” said Chief James C. Lee of the IRS Criminal Investigation. “But these marketplaces thrive in large measure because of the infrastructure that supports them. 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 today in these activities and will now be held accountable.”

“Harmon admitted that he conspired with Darknet vendors to launder bitcoin generated through drug trafficking and other illegal activities,” said Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to infiltrate and shut down the cryptocurrency money-laundering networks that support cyber-criminal enterprises.”

Harmon admitted that Helix partnered with several Darknet markets, including AlphaBay, Evolution, Cloud 9 and others, to provide bitcoin money laundering services for market customers. In total, Helix moved over 350,000 bitcoin – valued at over $300 million at the time of the transactions – on behalf of customers, with the largest volume coming from Darknet markets. Harmon further admitted that he conspired with Darknet vendors and marketplace administrators to launder such bitcoins generated through illegal drug trafficking offenses on those Darknet marketplaces.

As part of his plea, Harmon also agreed to the forfeiture of more than 4,400 bitcoin, valued at more than $200 million at today’s prices, and other seized properties that were involved in the money laundering conspiracy. Harmon will be sentenced at a date to be determined and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, a term of supervised release of not more than three years, and mandatory restitution. Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accepted Harmon’s guilty plea and will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit and the FBI’s Washington Field Office investigated the case, with valuable assistance provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, the IRS’s Washington, Cincinnati and Oakland Field Offices, the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and Cleveland, Newark and San Francisco Field Offices, and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

The Belize Ministry of the Attorney General and the Belize National Police Department provided essential support for the investigation, coordinated through U.S. Embassy Belmopan. The investigation was coordinated with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which assessed a $60 million civil monetary penalty against Harmon in a parallel action.

Trial Attorneys S. Riane Harper and C. Alden Pelker of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher B. Brown of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia prosecuted the case. Additional assistance was provided by Trial Attorneys Emily Siedell and Brian Nicholson of the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, former CCIPS Trial Attorney W. Joss Nichols and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Riedl of the Northern District of Ohio.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Aug.20: 2021:

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#bitcoin, #crypotcurrency, #darknet, #doj, #grams, #helix, #ohio

(BERLIN, Germany.) JUST IN: Police have arrested three men and a fourth is being held in Paraguay for allegedly running one of the world’s biggest online networks for sharing images of child sex abuse #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.04: Officials say Boystown had more than 400,000 registered users: They say some images showed the most serious sexual abuse of young children:

GERMANY: DARKNET: The EU police agency Europol says it will also examine intelligence gained from the operation, and “more arrests and rescues are to be expected globally” on that basis as four held in German-led raid on huge child sexual abuse network: ‘The international operation, involving several police forces, targeted a dark net platform called Boystown, which has now been taken down’

2 hours ago

German police car (file pic), 17 Sep 20
German authorities said the platform had more than 400,000 users

The dark net is an internet area beyond the reach of mainstream search engines. 

The German-led investigation involved law enforcement agencies in the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the US and Canada. 

Several related paedophile chat sites on the dark net were also dismantled, Europol says.

German police say three men detained since mid-April are believed to have run the paedophile network: one aged 40 from Paderborn, one aged 49 from the Munich area and a 58-year-old from north Germany who has been living in South America for several years. He was detained in Paraguay’s Concepción region under an international arrest warrant, and German authorities have asked for his extradition. 

The fourth suspect is a 64-year-old from Hamburg who was allegedly one of the most active members, responsible for more than 3,500 posts.

The US police battling against child abusers on the internet (2014)

ACE RELATED NEWS:

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: May.04: 2021:

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#darknet, #europol, #germany, #online, #paraguay

(PENNYSYLVANIA) Justice Dept Report: Israeli National pleaded guilty today for his role in ‘DeepDotWeb’ administrator pleads guilty to ‘Money Laundering Conspiracy’ #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Apr.01: An Israeli national pleaded guilty today for his role in operating DeepDotWeb (DDW), a website that connected internet users with Darknet marketplaces, where they purchased illegal firearms, malware and hacking tools, stolen financial data, heroin and fentanyl, and other contraband.

Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation: ‘DeepDotWeb received over $8 million in kickbacks from purchases of fentanyl, firearms, and other contraband on Darknet marketplaces: ‘According to court documents, Tal Prihar, 37, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil, owned and operated DDW along with co-defendant Michael Phan, 34, of Israel, beginning in October 2013. In addition to providing general information about the Darknet, DDW provided users with direct links to illegal Darknet marketplaces, which are not accessible through traditional search engines’

For providing these links, Prihar and Phan received kickback payments from the marketplaces in the form of virtual currency, including approximately 8,155 bitcoins (worth approximately $8.4 million based on the bitcoin trading value at the time of the transactions). To conceal the nature and source of these illegal kickback payments, Prihar transferred the payments from his DDW bitcoin wallet to other bitcoin accounts and to bank accounts he controlled in the names of shell companies. DDW was seized by federal authorities in April 2019, and Prihar has agreed to forfeit $8,414,173.

“Tal Prihar served as a broker for illegal Darknet marketplaces — helping such marketplaces find customers for fentanyl, firearms, and other dangerous contraband — and profited from the illegal business that ensued,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This prosecution, seizure of the broker website, and forfeiture send a clear message that we are not only prosecuting the administrators of Darknet marketplaces offering illegal goods and services, but we will also bring to justice those that aim to facilitate and profit from them.” 

“Tal Prihar today acknowledged his leadership role in operating a web site that served as a gateway to numerous dark web marketplaces selling fentanyl, heroin, firearms, hacking tools and other illegal goods,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman for the Western District of Pennsylvania. “Mr. Prihar and his codefendant extracted a fee from each customer routed to these illegal sites, profiting in the millions of dollars.”

“For six years, DeepDotWeb was a gateway to facilitate the illegal purchase of items to include dangerous drugs, weapons, and malicious software,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Carlton Peeples of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office. “Prihar profited as a byproduct from other people’s dangerous transactions and today’s guilty plea sends a message to other cyber actors across the globe who think the dark web is a safe haven. The FBI works with our local, state, federal and international partners regularly to dismantle illicit websites and go after those responsible for them.”

Prihar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 2, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office is investigating the case:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorneys C. Alden Pelker of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Alexander Gottfried of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting the case.

The department thanks the French authorities as well as its law enforcement colleagues at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, IRS, Brazilian Federal Police Cyber Division, Israeli National Police, Dutch National Police, Europol Darkweb Team, Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany, and National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom. Significant assistance was provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

This case was brought in conjunction with the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) Team. Established within the FBI’s Hi-Tech Organized Crime Unit, J-CODE is a U.S. Government initiative announced in January 2018, aimed at targeting drug trafficking, especially fentanyl and other opioids, on the Darknet. The J-CODE team brings together agents, analysts and professional staff with expertise in drugs, gangs, health care fraud and more. J-CODE entities, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Defense, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Department of Justice focus on disrupting the sale of drugs via the Darknet and dismantling criminal enterprises that facilitate this trafficking.

This prosecution also is a result of an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Apr.01: 2021:

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#brazil, #darknet, #israeli, #ocdetf, #organised-crime, #pennysylvania

(VIRGINIA) Justice Dept Report: A federal jury convicted a man today for downloading images and videos depicting children as young as four years old being sexually abused and for utilising the Darknet to solicit and promote child pornography #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport- Mar.05: According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Christopher Sueiro, 39, of Fairfax, used a peer-to-peer network to download images of child sexual abuse:

‘Man Convicted of Receiving, Soliciting, and Promoting Child Pornography: Sueiro was convicted of four counts: receipt; attempted receipt; possession; and solicitation of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, 2021, and faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine the sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors he was also a member of a Darknet hidden service website dedicated to trafficking in child sexual abuse material of preteen boys, where he made posts promoting and soliciting images and videos of child sexual abuse and attempted to receive it from other users of the website.

Sueiro’s electronic devices included documents describing graphic sexual abuse of children and a guide to how to find child pornography online. He downloaded images and videos of child sexual abuse repeatedly over the course of at least four years, amassing thousands of images and videos.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia; Special Agent in Charge Raymond Villanueva of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; and Colonel Erin Schaible, Chief of the City of Fairfax Police Department made the announcement. 

HSI and the City of Fairfax Police Department investigated the case, with significant assistance from the High Technology Investigative Unit (HTIU) of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).

CEOS Trial Attorney James E. Burke IV and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Smith III of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Mar.05: 2021:

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#crime, #darknet, #punishment