A senior IRS special agent told the conference that non-fungible tokens (NFT) and cryptocurrencies are “the future”, but stressed that fraud and manipulation are still widespread in the field.
Ryan Corner of the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit in Los Angeles made the comments during a virtual event hosted by USC Gould Law School on Tuesday. According to Bloomberg, Korner said:
“We only see mountains and mountains of fraud in this area.”
He said during the event that the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit is aware of the significant growth in the crypto sector, but noted that the use of digital assets is not limited to payments and trading. He described many illegal activities such as fraud, money laundering, market manipulation and tax evasion.
He specifically highlighted the Market Manipulation Corner, noting that well-known investors can influence asset prices with a single tweet.
Talk about celebrity engagement in the room, perhaps pointing to examples like Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather Jr., who recently went into hot water to promote a scam code called EthereumMax. Corner sa:
“We do not necessarily look for celebrities, but when they make outrageous or open comments that say ‘Hello tax authorities, you should probably come and see me,’ that’s what we do.”
This place is the future.
During the event, Corner stated that the reason the division is actively educating and educating its agents in the regulation of cryptocurrencies and NFTs is that “this space is the future” and that there is no way out.
Corner also said that the IRS cooperates with other federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, “to ensure that everyone is on the same side and in front of the criminals.”
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In fiscal year 2021, IRS investigators seized $ 3.5 billion worth of cryptocurrencies linked to economic crime. This constitutes 93% of the total assets that the unit acquired during this period.
“The IRS CI ended the year with 80 cases on its still active list, with the primary breach related to cryptocurrency,” Koerner said.