The US recently implemented the infrastructure bill to include crypto activities within the regulatory scope of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS has now stated that it expects the total crypto seizures in 2022 from money laundering and crime to come to billions of dollars.
In a Bloomberg publication, the Criminal Investigation Chief at the IRS, Jim Lee, has shared the milestones that his unit has achieved this year and its targets for the coming year.
IRS seizes $3.5B in crypto in 2021
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Lee stated that in the 2021 fiscal year, $3.5 billion worth of crypto was seized. This accounts for 95% of all the assets that were seized by the agency in 2021.
Moreover, Lee breaks down the numbers to state that over $1 billion from the sized amount belonged to the Silk Road dark web marketplace that has since been shut down. While the case against this marketplace was completed years ago, hidden crypto holdings were traced this year and seized by authorities.
Cryptocurrencies have become a major tool used by criminals for money laundering, drug trafficking and tax evasion. Lee noted that out of the seized amount, another $10 million was recovered from a former employee of Microsoft, who hid money stolen from the tech giant in the form of crypto.
IRS focusing on crypto-related financial crimes
The report issued by the IRS on November 25 by the Criminal Investigation Unit showed that there was more focus on crypto-related financial crimes. The agency was investing more in training its staff about cryptocurrencies and open-source intelligence practices (OSINT).
The agency further stated that it would unveil the Advanced Collaboration & Data Center in Northern Virginian in 2022. This centre will be used for staff training and preparing the agency to combat more crypto-related financial crimes.
With the efforts of this agency to battle the use of crypto assets for financial crimes and the recently implemented Infrastructure bill, the IRS is expected to seize an even bigger amount of crypto in 2022. Under this bill, crypto brokers will have to report transactions to the IRS, increasing the control the agency has on cryptocurrencies.
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