The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), on the hunt for tax fraudsters and money launderers, has sent an undercover agent into a market to trade bitcoin, ether, and other cryptocurrency.
Forbes reviewed a search warrant and found that the undercover IRS agent used the name “Mr. Coins on LocalCryptos.com. This is a site that allows you to exchange cryptocurrency for dollars or other fiat currencies. Mr. Coins’ profile was still online at the time it was published. He had received 100% positive feedback after transferring up to $200,000 digital money.
His greatest success was likely to get rid of an alleged dark-web drug dealer. He tricked him into sending $180,000 to the IRS to buy cryptocurrencies.
Mr. Coins posted an advertisement in June offering bitcoin cash by mail at market prices. Sellers simply needed to contact them via encrypted messaging apps Wickr and WhatsApp.
A person referred to as Lucifallen21 contacted the IRS shortly afterward to inquire about the advertisement, according to the search warrant. Without revealing how, the IRS determined that Lucifallen21 was in fact Chase Hite, a resident of Evansville, Indiana. He had already agreed to purchase from Mr. He wrapped up $15,040 of cash in clothes and sent it to Mr. Coins in exchange for 1.59 bitcoin.
In August, nearly $20,000 was received in exchange for 1.34 bitcoin and 4.5.2 monero. This cryptocurrency promises better privacy protections that its competitors, according to the government. Nearly $65,000 was also sent to the agent in the months that followed.
Investigators began to focus on the conclusion of the sting operation in March. According to the IRS, Hite’s $28,000 cash package was intercepted by the Postal Service and marked as lost. The IRS monitored telephone calls to the Postal Service to wait for Hite to complain. Investigators found that the call was linked to a Hite-paid phone number.
Wickr received further messages indicating Hite was involved with dark web drug sales. Hite claimed to be selling ‘pills & opioids’ along with cocaine and marijuana. The search warrant stated that the undercover officer offered Hite a loan. Hite would receive $79,000 in cryptocurrency and $54,000 in cash. Hite was also linked to Hite by forensics when the last package arrived.
Hite was taken into custody in July. He has not yet submitted a plea. The Eastern District of New York filed the charges. His lawyer declined comment. LocalCryptos has not responded to any requests for comment. The IRS refused to give more information than was provided in court.
The tax collection agency has a history of working undercover to catch cryptocurrency-using criminals. The agency was accused of organizing a payment to Bitcoin Fog, a company that offered to launder money. According to a criminal complaint first reported by, the agents claimed they wanted to launder cryptocurrency that they had earned selling Ecstasy. And in March, the IRS pretended to be a seller of counterfeit Gucci products sourced from China, asking the defendant in that case to convert bitcoin that they claimed to have acquired in selling the merchandise.
This latest sting is rare in that the IRS created a profile on cryptocurrency trading platforms and created what amounts a watering hole for agents, just waiting for criminals.