• A 31-year-old Ohio man, Gary James Harmon, has pleaded guilty to stealing over 712 Bitcoin that was seized by the U.S. government in another criminal case
• As part of his plea, Gary Harmon agreed to forfeit 647.41 Bitcoin, 2.14 Ethereum, and 17,404,400.64 Dogecoin
• The stolen Bitcoin was stored in a Trezor hardware wallet in an IRS evidence locker
Gary James Harmon, a 31-year-old Ohio man, has pleaded guilty to stealing over 712 Bitcoin that had been seized by the U.S. government in a criminal case involving his brother, Larry Harmon. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Gary Harmon pleaded guilty to wire fraud and obstruction of justice for unlawfully taking more than 712 Bitcoin that had been seized by law enforcement and was subject to forfeiture in the pending criminal prosecution of Larry Harmon.
As part of his plea, Gary Harmon agreed to forfeit 647.41 Bitcoin, 2.14 Ethereum, and 17,404,400.64 Dogecoin. The DOJ added that “due to the increase in market prices, the total value of these forfeitable properties exceeds $12 million.”
The stolen Bitcoin was stored in a Trezor hardware wallet that was seized by the federal government in connection with Larry Harmon, who was arrested in February 2020. The federal authorities had not taken control of the coins due to the device’s complex security. Larry Harmon pleaded guilty in August 2021 to money laundering conspiracy in connection with “his operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business through his company, Helix.”
Gary Harmon’s guilty plea was part of a plea agreement that included a five year prison sentence and a criminal forfeiture of over $12 million in cryptocurrencies. The DOJ stated that “Harmon admitted that he took the bitcoin in violation of the law and understood that it was wrong to do so.”
The case serves as a reminder to all crypto investors to be careful with their funds and to ensure that all digital assets are securely stored. While the digital currency market is still relatively young, it is important to understand the legal implications of any investments and to ensure that all digital assets are protected.