Finance Monthly - March 2022

9 Finance Monthly. The Mon t h l y Round -Up In 2021, criminals held $11 billion worth of cryptocurrency with known illicit sources, a substantial increase from the $3 billion at the end of 2020. According to Chainalysis, stolen funds made up 93% of all criminal balances at $9.8 billion in 2021. Darknet market funds came in at $448 million, while scams totalled at $192 million, fraud shops at $66 million, and ransomware at $30 million. In its crypto crime report, Chainalysis also stated that more than 4,000 criminal whales have a total of $25 billion worth of crypto as a group. Chainanalysis defines a criminal whale as a private wallet with at least $1 million of crypto that has received over 10% of its funds from illicit addresses. 2021 is now the highest year on record for crypto-based crime, as the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic encouraged an increased number of online transactions and investments. Chainanalysis’ report follows on from the US Department of Justice seizing around $2 million worth of crypto from the DarkSide ransomware operators behind the attack on Colonial Pipeline. Meanwhile, in the UK, London’s Metropolitan Police Service made its largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency, taking $180 million worth from a suspected money launderer. Crypto Crime: $11 Billion Amassed in 2021 The UK tax department, HM Revenue and Customs has seized three non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as part of a probe into a suspected VAT fraud scheme involving 250 fabricated firms. HM Revenue and Customs said it had seized the NFTs and had placed three people under arrest on suspicion of attempting to defraud it out of £1.4 million. This is the first time an NFT has been seized by UK law enforcement. NFTs, which first surfaced in 2014, are unique digital tokens that can be bought and sold in cryptocurrency or traditional currencies that have no tangible form of their own. “Our first seizure of a Non-Fungible Token serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can use crypto-assets to hide money from HMRC,” said Nick Sharp, HMRC’s Deputy Director Economic Crime. “We constantly adapt to new technology to ensure we keep pace with how criminals and evaders look to conceal their assets.” Three digital artwork NFTs as well as other crypto assets worth approximately £5,000 have been seized after the HMRC successfully secured a court order. According to HMRC, the three suspects are thought to have used “sophisticated methods to try to hide their identities including false and stolen identities.” NFTs Seized for the First Time Amid Suspected £1.4 Million Fraud

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