The IRS report shows that the agency seized $3.5 billion worth of crypto this year and the prognosis is that this number is only going to get higher in 2022 so let’s read more in our latest cryptocurrency news today.
The United States Internal Revenue Service- IRS report shows in its annual Criminal Investigation that the agency seized $3.5 billion worth of crypto. According to the latest criminal investigation report the figure accounted for 93% of the assets that the tax enforcement seized that year. The IRS is expecting this crypto seizure trend to increase to billions next year. The report outlined other important figures for 2021 in the CI report and the total value of the tax fraud identified was over $2 billion while $8 billion went to other financial crimes and the agency executed 1497 warrants with an 89.4% conviction rate.
The tax fraud took the highest percentage of 72% of the direct investigative time spent and comprised different crimes like cybercrimes, identity theft, and corporate fraud. The IRS criminal investigation unit seized billions in BTC and other crypto assets in 2021 and these seizures were connected to cases that involve a huge range of criminal activities however the biggest high profile case was the seizure worth $1 billion in BTC which was related to Silk Road’s darknet market that was shut down in 2013.
The New York federal jury in 2015 convicted Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht of seven criminal counts and after a long investigation by the IRS Cyber Crime Unit, the special agents seized BTC Valued at over $1 billion which was the biggest seizure of crypto in the US history. The Criminal investigations unit arrested 32-year old Roman Sterlingov who was operating a bitcoin money-laundering service Bitcoin Fog since 2011. while operating, Bitcoin Fog moved BTC Valued at $335 million and the US DOJ Then charged Sterlingov with money laundering, money transmission without a license in the District of Columbia, and also operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
There was another case of a former Microsoft software developer that embezzled $10 million from the company which was then sent through a Bitcoin mixer service to hide the proceeds. The US District Court in Seattle in 2020 then sentenced him to nine years in prison for 18 federal felonies. Speaking to Bloomberg, the IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Jim Lee said he expects the trend of crypto seizures to continue throughout 2022 because there’s a number of crimes that are moving forward.
According to the report, Cybercrime in the US is growing and the Criminal Investigation Unit created a cybercrimes program in 2015. It added that it has a priority on training for complex cyber-financial schemes that are related to crypto and blockchain.