A special agent with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says the tax agency is “seeing mountains and mountains of fraud” in the cryptocurrency space. The IRS criminal investigation unit is trying to train all of its agents on crypto and non-fungible token (NFT) issues because “this space is the future,” he stressed.
IRS Special Agent Says Crypto Is Rife With ‘Mountains and Mountains of Fraud’
A special agent in charge of the IRS’ criminal investigation division in Los Angeles, Ryan Korner, talked about cryptocurrency at a virtual event hosted by the USC Gould School of Law Tuesday. He was quoted by Bloomberg as saying:
We’re just seeing mountains and mountains of fraud in this area.
He explained that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and crypto in general are prone to market manipulation, adding that high-profile individuals could influence crypto prices with just one tweet.
Noting that celebrities are not immune to the tax authority’s criminal probes, the special agent clarified: “We’re not necessarily out there looking for celebrities, but when they make a blatant or open comment that says ‘Hey, IRS, you should probably come look at me,’ that’s what we do.”
Korner detailed that a range of crypto-related activities are of concern to law enforcement agencies, such as people paying millions of dollars for assets, like NFTs, that don’t seem to have that kind of inherent value. He noted that criminals can use that to their advantage to launder money.
The IRS seized $3.5 billion in crypto during the fiscal year 2021, which represents 93% of all funds seized by its criminal investigation unit during the same time period. The tax agency expects to seize billions of dollars more in cryptocurrency this year.
The IRS’ criminal investigation division is trying to train all of its agents on crypto and NFT issues because “this space is the future,” the special agent opined, adding that the agency is also looking to increase collaboration and share information with other federal agencies.