The UK’s tax authority has opened 20 criminal investigations involving digital assets as it seeks to crack down on crypto fraud.
A rise in money laundering and fraud linked to digital assets has prompted the tax authority to ramp up its efforts to hunt down crypto criminals with HMRC looking into a mounting pile of tax fraud and tax evasion cases, the Telegraph first reported.
Staff at the tax authority have received specialised training to use tools that help them gather data in crypto investigations and HMRC has reportedly assembled a technology-focused team to tackle crypto crime.
It comes after HMRC yesterday confirmed it had arrested three people and seized three NFTs as part of a suspected fraud investigation, involving 250 fake companies.
Commenting on the news, Louise Bennett, civil fraud and asset recovery partner at Keystone Law said news of multiple investigations at HMRC show that authorities are “starting to keep pace with scammers.”
“There has been a huge rise in fraudulent activity within the cryptocurrency world and HMRC’s ramping up of investigations is an important development in the recovery of fraud,” said Bennett. “This should be a warning that the faceless fraudsters, hiding behind the anonymity of cryptocurrency, have nowhere to hide.”
According to Bennett, English Courts have also proven to show the same appetite for tackling cases of crypto frauds with judges frequently approving the use of injunctions, identity disclosures and contempt proceedings to help solve the identity of the fraudsters by forcing cryptocurrency exchanges to co-operate and assist with the recovery of assets.