Investigations Archives -
A civilian helping review New York Police Department probes involving Muslim communities says there were fewer requests in the last year for investigations affecting First Amendment rights covered by a longstanding court order.
Forty regulators in the US and Canada are reportedly collaborating in the largest coordinated crackdown on cryptocurrency scams to date by state and provincial officials. The operation has triggered over 70 investigations so far, with 35 cases completed or pending.
The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) said Monday that US and Canadian securities regulators have launched nationwide investigations on suspicious cryptocurrency investment schemes, the Washington Post reported. This is “the largest coordinated crackdown to date by state and provincial officials on bitcoin scams,” the news outlet wrote. CNBC elaborated:
More than 40 state and provincial watchdogs are participating in ‘Operation Crypto-Sweep,’ which has triggered at least 70 investigations so far.
NASAA is a voluntary association whose members are securities administrators from states, provinces, and territories in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico. According to its website, the association is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection.
The association, which helps coordinate Operation Crypto-Sweep, confirmed that “as many as 70 investigations have been opened in the sweep, with more expected in the coming weeks.” Furthermore, the Washington Post detailed, “As many as 35 cases are pending or already completed, with some resulting in cease-and-desist letters warning the alleged schemes that their unregistered activity violates state securities law.”
The efforts focus on “unregistered securities offerings that promise lucrative returns without adequately informing investors of the risks” as well as initial coin offerings (ICOs), the regulators explained.
By posing as members of the public, the NASAA task force found roughly 30,000 crypto-related domain name registrations, the news outlet described, adding that “Many of the alleged scams use fake addresses, slick marketing materials and promises of over 4 percent daily interest,” the news outlet described. “A few have even used unauthorized photos of high-profile individuals, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to portray themselves as aboveboard.”
The director of enforcement at the Texas State Securities Board, Joseph Rotunda, was quoted saying, “Although the international task force’s work is far from complete, my suspicions have already been confirmed: The market for cryptocurrency investments is saturated with fraud, and our work is only revealing the tip of the iceberg.”
Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a study showing that out of 1,470 ICOs, 271 were found to contain “red flags that include plagiarized investor documents, promises of guaranteed returns and missing or fake executive teams.” Investors have poured more than $ 1 billion into these 271 ICOs, the publication added. In addition, a Chinese government-backed industry organization also published its fake crypto analysis last week, claiming that its monitoring system has detected 421 fake cryptocurrencies.
Massachusetts’ Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, emphasized on Monday:
Not every ICO or cryptocurrency-related investment is fraudulent, but we urge investors to approach any initial coin offering or cryptocurrency-related investment product with extreme caution.
NASAA president and the director of the Alabama Securities Commission, Joseph Borg, explained that “consumers face higher risks of being misled at a time when the intense demand for bitcoin has prompted many retail investors to take extreme steps to gain exposure to the currency, such as taking out a bigger mortgage.”
What do you think of Operation Crypto-Sweep? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and NASAA.
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The post 70+ Investigations: 40 Regulators Crack Down on Suspicious Crypto Schemes appeared first on Bitcoin News.
On January 25 the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deputy assistant director, Greg Nevano, explained in a testimony that the agency was using “blockchain exploitation tools” to combat cryptocurrency use in illicit markets. Nevano’s testimony revolved around the growing opioid addiction problem in the U.S., and how the law enforcement organization is fighting the drugs deliveries stemming from international mail carriers.
ICE Is Combating Illicit Activities That Derive From International Mail Deliveries
This week the ICE deputy assistant director Greg Nevano discussed how his department was focused on fight the opioid and fentanyl problem plaguing the U.S. The director’s report explains how ICE is combating illicit activities that derive from international mail deliveries, alongside other cyber-based tactics used for fighting crime. Nevano also details to the U.S. Senate committee that cryptocurrencies are being used to facilitate drug trafficking across multiple borders.
Darknet Field Investigations and Exploiting Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Exchangers
The ICE representative says the agency’s cyber-crime division is providing support to “field investigations” that target “darknet illicit marketplaces.” Nevano says that fentanyl and chemical precursors proliferate within these online markets and are sold for digital currencies. In 2014 the agency launched 37 investigations, and by 2015 the number increased to 100 inquiries. Today the ICE cyber-crime division is working on 600 probes and have over 500 requests for more field investigations.
“The cyber division is providing assistance with the development and management of online undercover personas in furtherance of online undercover operations and collaborates with joint agency strategies in taking down online sources of opioids,” the testimony details.
In support of its diverse financial investigative efforts ICE uses undercover techniques to infiltrate and exploit peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchangers who typically launder proceeds for criminal networks engaged in or supporting darknet marketplaces.
Training Agents to Understand Cryptocurrency and the Use of Blockchain Exploitation Tools
ICE says that it is training investigators from national and international law enforcement agencies to scrutinize cryptocurrency use that’s tethered to fentanyl/opioid or other narcotic purchases. Nevano’s testimony details that the organization is collecting “communication records such as phone toll records, Internet Protocol (IP) address activity records, email search warrants, and Title III wire intercepts” in these types of investigations. Further, the agency is also using tools that exploit blockchain networks tied to the digital assets used in illegal activity. Nevano states:
ICE leverages complex blockchain technology exploitation tools to analyze the digital currency transactions and identify transactors.
The testimony follows the recent actions taken by governments all around the world attempting to regulate the cryptocurrency economy. Moreover, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the blockchain surveillance company Chainalysis being contracted by ICE several times. Its likely that the Chainalysis blockchain monitoring products are just one of the exploitation tools deployed by the U.S. law enforcement agency. Nevano and ICE believe illicit narcotic smuggling in the international mail environment and cryptocurrencies are playing a role in the world’s opioid epidemic.
What do you think about ICE investigating the use of cryptocurrencies and the illegal opium trade? What kind of blockchain exploitation tools do you think this agency uses? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.
Images via Wiki Commons, ICE logo, and Pixabay.
The post U.S. Agency ICE Conducts Investigations That Exploit Blockchain Activity appeared first on Bitcoin News.
The GOP tax overhaul saved Wells Fargo & Co. more than $ 3 billion in the fourth quarter, but the bank also set aside more than $ 3 billion to cover costs related to ongoing problems with its consumer businesses, the company reported Friday.
In its earnings release for the fourth quarter and full…
The South Korean regulators have started investigating two major cryptocurrency exchanges. The country’s National Tax Service has conducted an on-site investigation of Bithumb and Coinone. In addition, Coinone is also being investigated by the Korean police for allegedly offering illegal gambling services to investors.
Tax Authority Investigating Bithumb and Coinone
The South Korean National Tax Service (NTS) has launched a tax investigation of two of the country’s largest bitcoin exchanges, Bithumb and Coinone, Yonhap reported on Wednesday.
“The Seoul Regional Tax Office is investigating books and related materials including sales figures,” the news outlet described. Investigators were sent to Bithumb’s headquarters in Gangnam-gu and Coinone’s headquarters in Yeouido.
“It’s true that the NTS has come out with an investigation, but it is difficult to confirm the details of the investigation,” Bithumb was quoted by the Hankook-Ilbo. The publication elaborated:
The investigation is related to the virtual currency taxation industry analysis. The government is considering ways to impose a capital gains tax on virtual currency investment returns.
Coinone said the tax investigators asked basic questions such as the company size and the number of employees, the Hankyoreh detailed. According to SBS News, in addition to asking questions, the “investigators have confiscated financial data and computer hard disks” from Bithumb.
The Korean regulators are actively discussing ways to tax cryptocurrencies. Last week, they announced that some taxes are possible under the current law such as corporate tax, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.
Coinone Also Investigated by Police
In addition to being probed by the NTS, Coinone is also being investigated by the South Korean police, local publications reported on Tuesday. The police have launched “investigations of margin transactions that took place via Coinone, viewing them as gambling and a breach of the Capital Markets Act,” the Korea Herald explained. Cryptocurrency exchanges are not licensed to offer such services. The Hankook-Ilbo elaborated:
The police believe that Coinone is a kind of gambling [business] that provides members with a margin trading service that predicts the market price after a maximum of one week and chooses the number of short sales and makes profit or loss according to the result.
However, a Coinone official contested, stating that “We have already reviewed the law [to ensure] that there is no illegality before starting the service, and we have already stopped the service from concerns of the financial authorities.”
What do you think of the Korean government launching investigations of Bithumb and Coinone? Do you think more crypto exchanges will be investigated? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bithumb, Coinone.
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
The post Korean Regulators Launch Investigations of Bithumb and Coinone Crypto Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Under new head Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education will be easing up on investigations into civil rights complaints—investigations that were greatly expanded under President Obama, the New York Times reports. According to ProPublica , new guidelines were issued in a June 8 internal memo to replace Obama-era mandates. Under…
After fleeing violence in the Middle East, refugees are banding together to hound suspected terrorists and war criminals hiding among them in Europe, but the effort is yielding mixed results.
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A bipartisan group of senators grilled the head of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Wednesday after a survey revealed many colleges allow their athletic departments to oversee sexual assault cases involving student athletes.
NCAA President Mark Emmert agreed it was “spot on” that athletic department oversight of sexual violence investigations may deter victims from coming forward. But he resisted senators’ calls for immediate change, saying he wants to study the results of a survey released Wednesday showing one in five schools allow athletic departments to control sexual violence cases involving athletes.