In a first-ever case in the UK, the nation’s tax authority Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has seized three NFTs in a suspected $1.896 million case of fraud. Three people have been arrested. This is a first-of-its-kind move by a government department or agency in the NFT space.
The UK tax authority highlighted that the three suspects used sophisticated methods to hide their identities. This included VPNs, stolen identities, false invoices, and addresses, etc.
Nick Sharp, the deputy director of economic crime, said this case comes as a warning to those thinking of using crypto assets to hide money from the HMRC. He highlighted that the agency constantly adapts to new technology to keep pace with criminal evaders looking to disguise their assets.
The agency is likely to go deeper into the NFT market. Crypto and NFT marketplaces have prompted authorities to take notice as its growing into a hotbed for illicit activity. As such, it’s on the authorities’ radars now.
Recent months have seen a wide public audience engaging with NFTs, drawing the attention of regulators. Many have brushed off non-fungible tokens as a fad saying that it’s being grossly overvalued. Some experts believe it could lead to heavy losses for many investors.
The Thai SEC is the only regulator to have banned NFTs. Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, the general-secretary at SEC, had said the ban had been implemented as NFTs have no clear objectives. He alleged that its prices are being influenced by social media as the assets are tokenized by influencers or fan-based tokens.