As bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency have gained rapid popularity globally, so have incidents of criminal activity involving crypto. Most cryptocurrency crimes in the U.S. are considered federal offenses because transactions occurring in the blockchain aren't bound by state boundaries. If you have been investigated or arrested for suspicious cryptocurrency activity, you may be concerned about what charges you might be facing. Knowing this information can help you get a head start developing an effective defense strategy—so let's take a look at a few of the most common cryptocurrency crimes you might be charged with.
Crypto Laundering Fraud
Since crypto transactions are instant, global, and largely anonymous, cryptocurrencies have become the financial instrument of choice for many criminals—and the growing number of legitimate businesses now accepting crypto make it easy for criminals to use them to launder money. If federal investigators see crypto transactions affiliated with your wallets that look suspicious or require further explanation, this is one of the first things they will look at.
Tax Fraud or Tax Evasion
Cryptocurrency is not taxed as a currency, but it is taxed as a capital asset—meaning when you sell it for cash or make a profit from it, that profit is taxable. If federal agents believe you aren't paying taxes on your crypto profits or using cryptocurrency to “hide” your taxable assets, you could be charged with tax fraud or tax evasion.
Due to its existence in the digital space, cryptocurrency is relatively easy to steal with minimal detection. Most cryptocurrency transactions are secure thanks to blockchain technology, but clever cybercriminals can find their way around these systems using methods like unauthorized mining, malware, and even ransomware (locking up someone's computer and demanding crypto payment to unlock it). If the feds see evidence that you may have participated in the unauthorized gain of cryptocurrency, you could be charged with theft.
Regardless of what cryptocurrency crimes you may be charged with, cybercrimes are complicated cases at the very least. For the best possible outcome, you need a legal team with experience in federal criminal defense as well as cryptocurrency crimes. At the Sigal Law Group, we're known for defending our clients aggressively and effectively against federal charges, including those involving cryptocurrency. Call us today at (818) 325-0570 for a free consultation.