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Report: IRS Criminal Investigation Achieved 90.6% Conviction Rate in FY22

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Nov 4, 2022

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The IRS Criminal Investigation unit (CI) initiated more than 2,550 criminal investigations, identified more than $31 billion from tax and financial crimes, seized assets valued at approximately $7 billion, and obtained a conviction rate of more than 90 percent during fiscal year 2022 (Oct. 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022), according to its most recent annual report.

The sixth largest federal law enforcement agency, the only one that spends all of its time on financial investigations, and the only one with the authority to investigate criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code, CI identified $5.7 billion in tax fraud and $26.9 billion in other financial crimes. It executed 1,210 warrants, and referred 1,837 cases for prosecution, winning convictions in 1,564 of them.

That 90.6 percent conviction rate is the statistic of which CI Chief Jim Lee is most proud, as he wrote in his opening message. “We are thorough and good at what we do,” he wrote. “As I tell crowds around the country, if a CI special agent has you in their crosshairs, there is a good chance you are going to jail.”

Seventy percent of CI special agents’ time was spent investigating tax-related crimes such as tax evasion and tax fraud. The remainder was spent on money laundering and drug trafficking cases.

This past year saw CI play a larger role in international cyber investigations and sanctions-related enforcement efforts. It joined the U.S. Department of Justice’s IRS-CI Taskforce Kleptocapture to target Russian oligarchs and other sanctions-evaders, identifying almost 50 individuals and entities for potential sanctions-related enforcement.

"Our team follows the money," Lee said of his 2,077 agents. "We've been doing it for more than 100 years, and we've followed criminals into the dark web and now into the metaverse. Tax and other financial crimes know no borders.”

CI also expanded partnerships with foreign countries, such as Argentina, Germany, Colombia, and Palau to help combat international tax and financial crimes. IRS-CI special agents delivered trainings on topics ranging from cybercrime to human trafficking.

"The cases the IRS-CI team investigated over the past fiscal year touch multiple continents and require cooperation with partners around the globe,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “This is why IRS-CI continues to cement itself as the preeminent law enforcement agency investigating financial crimes on a global scale."

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