- The IRS crime unit revealed last week that in the past year it has taken some $3.5 billion in criminal cryptocurrency proceeds
- The IRS crime unit was influential in a number of high profile crypto-related crimes
- The agency says it thinks it will top that in the next 12 months
The criminal unit of the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) has said that next year it expects to top the $3.5 billion in cryptocurrency that it has taken in this year as the proceeds of crime. A report last week stated that the IRS’s Criminal Investigation unit’s $3.5 billion haul made up 93% of its total income in 2021, so it’s no surprise that the agency will target the sector even more in the coming 12 months.
IRS Crime Unit Expects Even Bigger 2022
In the IRS crime unit report last week, commissioner Chuck Rettig explained how the unit’s agents “are the only federal law enforcement officers with the authority to investigate criminal violations of the U.S. tax code.” The unit’s fiscal year runs from October to September, with several major cryptocurrency cases highlighted in the report as helping the IRS crime unit hit its all-time high haul.
The report adds that the unit expects the trend of cryptocurrency usage in crime to continue, leading to an expectation of higher income next year, with many cases actively being worked on that will help them enjoy another bumper year.
Silk Road Theft and Bitcoin Fog Among Big Cases
The report highlighted some of the IRS crime unit’s highest profile cases as an example of the huge valuations associated with their work. One of the highlighted cases was that of the Bitcoin Fog mixing service, whose founder Roman Sterlingov was arrested in Los Angeles in April for helping to launder $1.2 billion in bitcoin over the past decade.
Another case was that of Shaun Bridges, the former Secret Service agent who was imprisoned in 2015 and again in 2017 after stealing tens of thousands of bitcoin from the Silk Road site he was supposed to be investigating. The IRS crime unit was instrumental in tracking down Bridges’ wallet containing ₿69,370 he had seemingly hoped to keep secret and getting it into the hands of the U.S. Treasury.