The U.K.’s. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has made its first non-fungible token (NFT) seizure. British authorities also seized some crypto and arrested three people in a fraud case involving 250 allegedly fake companies. “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.”
NFTs and Crypto Assets Seized by UK Tax Authority
Britain’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said Monday that it has seized three non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency worth about 5,000 pounds in an ongoing fraud investigation. Three people have also been arrested.
The U.K.’s tax, payments, and customs authority added that it was HMRC’s first-ever NFT seizure. The seized digital art NFTs have not been appraised.
The ongoing value-added tax (VAT) repayment fraud case involves 250 allegedly fake companies accused of defrauding the public coffers of 1.4 million pounds ($1.9 million).
The suspects allegedly attempted to claim back more VAT than what they were owed. HMRC said they used “sophisticated methods” to hide their identities, including using stolen IDs, fake addresses, prepaid unregistered mobile phones, virtual private networks (VPNs), and phony invoices. They pretended to engage in legitimate business activities.
Nick Sharp, deputy director of Economic Crime in the Fraud Investigation Service of HMRC, commented:
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.
“We constantly adapt to new technology to ensure we keep pace with how criminals and evaders look to conceal their assets,” he opined.