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The IRS predicts billions in cryptocurrency seizures from fraud schemes next year after taking $3.5 billion this year

One of the high-profile cases this past year was the $1 billion seizure of thousands of bitcoin related to Silk Road, which was shut down in 2013. ...
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Bitcoin.

  • Billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency could be seized again next year, the IRS said.
  • For fiscal year 2021, the agency retrieved $3.5 billion worth of crypto, according to a report. 
  • The high-profile case related to Silk Road led to a $1 billion seizure of thousands of bitcoin this past year.

The Internal Revenue Service said cryptocurrencies worth billions of dollars could be seized again next year.

That's after it retrieved $3.5 billion worth of crypto in fiscal year 2021, making up 93% of all assets seized by the agency that year, according to the IRS annual report.

During a call reported by Bloomberg, the IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Jim lee said he expects the trend of crypto seizures to continue in fiscal year 2022. 

The IRS said in its annual report that cybercrimes affecting the US tax and financial systems are seeing "exponential growth" and added that it has prioritized training on criminal schemes related to cryptocurrency and blockchain.

As part of that prioritization, the criminal investigation unit is launching an Advanced Collaboration & Data Center in Northern Virginia in 2022, according to the report.

One of the high-profile crypto cases this past year was the $1 billion seizure of thousands of bitcoin related to Silk Road, the online marketplace for drugs that was shut down by law enforcement in 2013.

A federal jury convicted Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht in 2015 of distributing narcotics and laundering money. But investigators had yet to track down all the money from the scheme until they discovered previously unnoticed bitcoin transactions and followed the trail. 

Meanwhile, crypto trading platforms are now required to report transactions to the IRS, as the infrastructure package signed into law on Monday also includes new requirements for the sector, Bloomberg said. But lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation to loosen some of the law's reporting rules.

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