IRS Criminal Investigation Releases Annual Report Highlighting Over 2,500 Investigations and Law Enforcement Partnerships

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WASHINGTON – More than 2,500 criminal investigations, the identification of more than $ 10 billion from tax evasion and financial crimes and a conviction rate of almost 90% are just a few of the highlights of the IRS-Enquête criminelle (IRS-CI) Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021. The report, released Thursday, details statistics, important partnerships and important criminal enforcement actions from the IRS-CI, the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, for the most recent fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. 2020 and ended on September 30, 2021.

“IRS-CI officers are the only federal law enforcement officers empowered to investigate criminal violations of the US tax code. Their work strengthens the backbone of our voluntary compliance tax system – a system that funds services and benefits for our nation, including defense, infrastructure and education, ”said the IRS Commissioner, Chuck Rettig.

In fiscal 2021, IRS-CI leveraged its existing network of U.S. field offices and international attachés to combat financial crimes around the world. The agency’s alliance with the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) helped strengthen public-private partnerships with financial institutions and the Fin-Tech industry to deter and identify criminal activity. In addition, IRS-CI has established its first Cyber ​​Attaché in The Hague, The Netherlands, to proactively support cyber investigation needs in coordination with Europol.

“IRS-CI continues to conduct tax and financial investigations here in the United States and around the world,” said Jim Lee, head of IRS-CI. “In fiscal 2021, as we faced the second year of a global pandemic, our team of officers continued to overcome personal and professional challenges to target criminals who exploited the tax and financial systems. Americans for personal use. “

While IRS-CI agents spent most of their investigative hours, around 72%, investigating tax crimes such as tax evasion and tax evasion in fiscal year 2021, they have also contributed significantly to money laundering, drug trafficking, public corruption, terrorism and COVID-19 fraud investigations.

Case examples include:

In April 2021, a Russian-Swedish dual national was arrested in Los Angeles on criminal charges relating to his alleged operation of the oldest bitcoin money laundering service on the darknet dubbed Bitcoin Fog. Most of the cryptocurrency laundered through Bitcoin Fog came from darknet markets and was linked to illegal narcotics, computer fraud and identity theft. This case marked the second lawsuit in the United States of a cryptocurrency mixing service; both have been investigated by the IRS-CI.

The head of a transnational criminal organization, linked to the Sinaloa cartel, operating in California and along the east coast was sentenced to 33 years in prison in July 2021 on charges related to drug trafficking. The conviction follows a multi-agency operation dubbed Operation Cookout which recovered 65 kilograms of illegal drugs, 24 firearms, more than $ 700,000 in cash and guilty pleas of 45 defendants.

Numerous IRS-CI investigations have resulted in the conviction of individuals for fraudulently obtaining small business relief loans under the CARES Act. One of those cases involved a Texan businessman who was sentenced in September 2021 to 31 months in prison and 36 months on probation after he created a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $ 3.3 million in loans. of the Paycheque Protection Program for personal use.

The report includes additional case examples for each U.S. field office, an overview of the IRS-CI’s international footprint, details of the specialized services provided by the IRS-CI, and investigative statistics, broken down by discipline, for fiscal year 2021.


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