93% of the assets confiscated by the IRS involve crypto
The US Internal Revenue Service (or IRS) has published a report that details the degree to which cryptocurrencies appear in criminal investigations.
According to the report, 93% of all confiscations carried out by the Criminal Investigations (or CI) team involve cryptocurrencies. In total, $3.5 billion worth of cryptocurrencies were confiscated by the CI team.
As part of CI’s ongoing initiative to combat financial crimes, the entity has spent the past six years developing a cyber crime program, called the Cyber Crime Unit (or CCU), dedicated to addressing the “exponential growth” of cyber crime.
“These crimes almost always involve the use of cryptocurrencies to facilitate the criminal activity,” the IRS said.
Over the past twelve months, cryptocurrencies and crime have made headlines.
These stories include far-right extremists raising millions in crypto, Russian-backed intelligence companies funding election campaign interference, and even fiscal attempts to decipher privacy coins to solve a Swedish disappearance case.
The IRS report looks back on some of the largest cryptocurrency-related confiscations in the history of the organization and industry.
An example occurred in April of this year, when a Russian-Swedish citizen named Roman Sterlingov was arrested on charges of “operating the dark net’s oldest bitcoin money laundering service”.
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Since 2011, Sterlingov has operated a mixing service called Bitcoin Fog. During the time of its operation, Bitcoin Fog handled over 1.2 million bitcoin which at the time was worth approximately $335 million.
“The bulk of this cryptocurrency came from darknet marketplaces and was tied to illegal narcotics, computer fraud and abuse activities, and identity theft,” added the IRS.
Another example occurred in July 2021, when Roger Nils-Jones Karlsson was sentenced to 15 years in prison for money laundering, securities fraud and electronic fraud.
“Karlsson ran an investment fraud scheme from 2011 until his arrest in Thailand in June 2019. Karlsson induced victims to purchase shares in the scheme called ‘Eastern Metal Securities’ using cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin and other online payment platforms,” he explained.
With informations: Decrypt