IRS Seizes Billions Over Cryptocurrency Fraud

IRS Seizes Billions Over Cryptocurrency Fraud

( – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a Criminal Investigation (CI) unit comprised of about 2,500 special agents who investigate various crimes related to money. During the 2021 fiscal year, the unit seized $3.5 billion in cryptocurrency-related fraud schemes, showing that an increased number of criminals are turning to the digital market to fraud and scam the public.

Chainalysis, a blockchain forensics firm, reported that the amount of crypto used for illegal purposes is a slim 1%, but that small slice translates into more than $20 billion.

Acting executive director of the IRS’ Cyber and Forensic Services division, Jarod Koopman, said the IRS-CI is “seeing a shift” in its cybercrime investigations. He added that large cryptocurrency seizures are the new normal.

Over $1 billion of the recent seizure came from a crackdown on a 2013 black market money-laundering and hacking scheme on the darknet referred to as the “Silk Road” case. Reports show many cryptocurrency crimes involve investment scams where unsuspecting victims pay for digital coins but don’t actually receive them.

Due to the expected increase in illegal crypto activity, Koopman said the IRS-CI is “scaling up” its focus on digital assets. The recently passed infrastructure package includes new tax reporting requirements, which proponents argue could help the federal government identify criminal activity more quickly.

The IRS expects to seize even more money linked to crime in the digital realm in 2022.

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