The US, four other countries launch joint crypto tax enforcement task force

The IRS, in coordination with the tax authorities of four other countries, looks to take a bite out of cryptocurrency crime.  The authorities have created a new task force, ‘The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement,’ which will pool resources from the five countries to investigate and prosecute criminal activity related to the use of cryptocurrency. 

The US, Canada, the UK, Australia and the Netherlands will all provide resources for the task force, which has been dubbed ‘J5.’  They will cooperate by sharing intelligence information and data on criminal investigations in an effort “to reduce the growing threat to tax administrations posed by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime."  Additionally, J5 is tasked with targeting international money laundering and tax crime. 

According to the head of the IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) division, Don Fort, his group will work in tandem with J5.  He said that the multilateral action “can pressurize the global criminal community in ways we could not achieve on our own."

Domestically, the IRS has already begun a crackdown on crypto-related crime by joining forces with the Department of Justice and the FBI in their investigations.  One such investigation led to the arrest of the founder of the classified ad website Backpage.com, Carl Ferrer, who was charged with laundering around half a billion dollars generated illegally, partly through cryptocurrency payments received by the site.  Along with Ferrer,  two shareholders, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, were also arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit pimping.  

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