IRS Sends Experts Next Month Around the World To Combat Cybercrime With a Focus on Crypto

Source: Adobe

The US Internal Revenue Service will deploy experts next month to four continents to combat cybercrime, with a particular focus on tax and financial crimes that use cryptocurrency.

That is part of a pilot program the IRS announced last week where “cyber attachés” will be sent to Sydney, Bogota, Frankfurt and Singapore from June to September. 

“In order to effectively combat cybercrime, we need to ensure that our foreign counterparts have access to the same tools and expertise we have here in the United States,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Jim Lee in a statement. 

David Strager, who will go to Sydney, has overseen criminal investigations regarding crypto tax evasion, money laundering and international fraud, according to the IRS.

“Strager holds a variety of cryptocurrency certifications and active licenses for cryptocurrency tracing tools,” the IRS said. 

Cuong Ly, who will be based in Singapore also has crypto experience. 

He was part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Task Force investigating fraud within crypto exchanges. 

The IRS has 20 field offices in the US and 12 “attaché posts abroad,” according to a press release.

Breaking records

The IRS’ Criminal Investigation unit seized “record amounts of data and cryptocurrency,” Lee said in an annual 2022 fiscal year report

Some key cases from last year involved a joint federal investigation which led to the seizure of Hydra — a darknet market that accounted for about 80 percent of all darknet market-related crypto transactions, according to the IRS. 

The IRS was also involved in what it says was the “largest single financial seizure in government history” when the Justice Department arrested a couple for allegedly conspiring to launder crypto that was stolen during a 2016 hack of crypto exchange Bitfinex. 

“The CI Cyber Crime Unit, with the assistance of other U.S. authorities traced the stolen funds on the BTC blockchain to various destinations, including accounts at the darknet market AlphaBay, seven interconnected accounts at U.S.-based virtual currency exchanges, various unhosted BTC wallets, accounts owned by the defendants at six virtual currency exchanges, and to an unhosted BTC wallet containing a majority of the stolen bitcoin,” the IRS said in the report. 

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