During a conference, Ryan Korner, a top special agent from Los Angeles’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation field office, said that NFTs and cryptocurrency, in general, are the “future.” However, the space is currently cluttered with fraudulent activity and manipulation. On Tuesday, he expressed his opinion regarding crypto during a virtual event hosted by the USC Gould School of Law, Korner.
Bloomberg quotes the special agent, who said, “we’re just seeing mountains and mountains of fraud in this area.” During the event, he said that the IRS CI division acknowledges the existence of the crypto sector and how much it has grown throughout the years. However, he also highlights how crypto assets are currently being used for more than just trading and making payments.
For instance, these digital assets are also being used for various illegal activities, such as market manipulation, money laundering, tax evasion, and fraud. Korner specifically emphasized market manipulation during his talk, detailing how high-profile investors have the power to change an asset’s value by a simple Tweet.
He also touches upon how celebrities have been involving themselves in the crypto space, possibly referring to big names like Floyd Mayweather and Kim Kardashian, who were involved in a lawsuit for allegedly promoting a deceitful token EthereumMax.
Crypto Is the Future
Korner revealed during the conference that their division is currently training and educating agents regarding the world of NFTs and crypto because “this space is the future,” and it’s doubtful that it will go anywhere anytime soon. The IRS is also working with other federal agencies such as the Justice Department to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the matter and that all agencies will work hard to stay ahead of criminals and other malicious individuals.
In 2021, IRS investigators seized a total of $3.5 billion worth of crypto associated with financial crimes.