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IRS criminal investigators ramp up crypto tax evasion cases

Right now, a lot of folks are thinking they should have been like Larry.

The Larry they wished they'd emulated is Larry David, known for his curmudgeonly television character. He tweaked that persona to become a naysayer on several inventions that, per the commercial's Super Bowl debut, changed the world.

The television ad for FTX crypto exchange advised viewers, "Don't be like Larry" and instead invest in digital currency via the company. On Friday, Nov. 11, FTX filed for bankruptcy following reports that between $1 billion to $2 billion of FTX customer funds disappeared.

Continuing crypto troubles: This is just the latest bobble in the digital currency bubble. Crypto peaked a year ago at more than $68,000. Now it's worth less than $18,000 and investors have lost more than $2 trillion since the 2021 high point.


But investors aren't the only ones taking a closer look at FTX and the entire crypto sector.

Members of Congress are talking hearings, the likelihood of which will depend on which party eventually, and nominally, controls the House and Senate after the midterm votes are all tallied.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice also are reportedly investigating FTX for civil and criminal violations of securities laws.

Crypto tax evasion: Then there's the Internal Revenue Service.

Jim Lee, head of the IRS Criminal Investigation division, said during a press call last week that the agency's criminal investigative unit is building hundreds of crypto cases, with many to be made public soon.

Lee said that he's "really seen a shift" in recent years in digital asset investigations. Previously, most crypto cases were related to money-laundering. Now, tax cases make up about half the mix.

This IRS digital tax evasion effort from its criminal investigators earns this weekend's Saturday Shout Outs. They are —

The added crypto tax enforcement isn't a surprise. The main IRS has been stepping up crypto info and tax collection in recent years. This added attention from IRS-CI can only help.

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