The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has revealed that $3.5 billion in crypto was seized during the fiscal year 2021. This represents 93% of all funds seized by its criminal investigation unit during the same time period. The agency expects to seize billions of dollars more in cryptocurrency next year.
IRS Says It Could Seize Even More Than $3.5 Billion in Cryptocurrency Next Year
The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (CI) unit, the tas authority’s law enforcement branch, released the 2021 Criminal Investigation Annual Report Thursday. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig explained that “CI agents are the only federal law enforcement officers with the authority to investigate criminal violations of the U.S. tax code.”
The report details statistics, partnerships, and significant criminal enforcement actions from IRS-CI for the past fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2020, and ended Sept. 30, 2021. Among several major crypto cases highlighted in the report is “the longest-running bitcoin money-laundering service on the darknet dubbed Bitcoin Fog.”
The 49-page Criminal Investigation Annual Report states that $3.5 billion in cryptocurrency was seized during the fiscal year 2021. This represents 93% of all CI seizures during the period.
The agency has indicated that it expects to seize billions of dollars more in cryptocurrency in the next fiscal year. IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Jim Lee said on a call with reporters Thursday:
I expect a trend of crypto seizures to continue as we move forward into fiscal year ‘22 … We’re seeing crypto involved in a number of our crimes as we move forward.
Jarod Koopman, the acting executive director of the IRS Cyber and Forensic Services division, commented that large cryptocurrency seizures have become the new normal for IRS criminal investigations.
He was quoted as saying: It’s a huge, huge number … Certainly we’re seeing a shift in our investigative work.” Koopman believes that the IRS Criminal Investigation unit could seize even more in cryptocurrency in the coming fiscal year, stating:
We do expect that to stay somewhat in that range, based off of some investigations we’re currently working on that are pretty large in size and scope … We might be topping that figure next year.
The full report can be found here.
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