Criminal organizations are increasingly employing digital currencies to launder funds or otherwise spend for illicit activities, according to one U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
Youngster exploiters, drug smugglers, illegal firearm sellers and intellectual property rights violators are all beginning to use cryptocurrencies for their transactions, mentioned Matthew Allen, ICE’s special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Allen testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on modernizing anti-income-laundering laws to limit both laundering and terrorist financing on Nov. 28, explaining that virtual currencies are the newest main method for hiding criminal proceeds.
In his testimony, he said:
“HSI agents are increasingly encountering virtual currency, like much more recent, anonymity enhancing cryptocurrencies (AECs), in the course of their investigations. AECs are created to greater obfuscate transaction details and are increasingly preferred by [transnational criminal organizations].”
Some exchanges are beginning to style solutions particularly to thwart tracking by use of mixers that anonymize virtual currency addresses, generating it even much more hard to determine which user conducted a distinct transaction, Allen stated.
The department has had some accomplishment in identifying criminals who use bitcoin, even so. Allen pointed to the November 2016 arrest of Utah resident Aaron Shamo, who allegedly ran a Xanax and fentanyl manufacturer group.
Shamo allegedly took his earnings in bitcoin, and HSI seized roughly $two.5 million from him at the time.
An additional alleged fentanyl vendor, Pennsylvanian Henry Koffie, was arrested this past July and had $154,000 seized. Allen said Koffie sold practically eight,000 orders of the drug, “most of it paid for with bitcoin.”
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Published at Thu, 30 Nov 2017 21:00:27 +0000