18 Dec 2015
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released its annual Criminal Investigation (CI) report this week. CI is the only federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over federal tax crimes, and its purpose is to enforce US law and support tax administration.
The report shows that in 2015, CI initiated 3,853 cases relating to tax-related identity theft, money laundering, public corruption, cybercrime and terrorist financing, with a conviction rate of 93.2% – the highest of any federal enforcement agency.
The 50-page report includes studies of some of the most high-profile cases of tax crime this year, including the ongoing FIFA investigation. Initially a tax evasion case, new discoveries by CI escalated the case into a global corruption and money laundering investigation, involving police agencies and governments across 33 countries.
Other cases include the Silk Road investigation, which resulted in owner Ross Ulbricht’s life imprisonment and an order to forfeit over $183 million. Bank Leumi paid a total of $270 million in fines for its role in assisting US taxpayers in hiding assets in offshore bank accounts, the first time an Israeli bank has admitted to this type of criminal conduct.
The report identified the use of the Dark Net as a particular threat, as it enables organised criminals to steal the personal information of millions of victims irrespective of location. The use of virtual currencies to disguise the flow of illegal funds was also flagged up as a significant issue.
The report can be accessed here.
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