UK Tax Watchdog Seizes NFTs in $1.9M Fraud Investigation

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs said it was the first UK authority to ever seize an NFT


Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has not taken control of the three NFTs, but is instead preventing them from being sold via court order, according to Sky News
  • Three people have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to defraud the UK authority

The United Kingdom’s tax enforcement agency seized three NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in a $1.9 million fraud probe — the country’s first confiscation of a digital collectible. 

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of fraud stemming from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HRMC) investigation. Their names were not disclosed.

Nick Sharp, HMRC’s deputy director of economic crime, told BBC Monday that the authority is “constantly adapting to new technology to ensure [they] keep pace with how criminals and evaders look to conceal their assets.”

The probe, Sharp said, “serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can use crypto assets to hide money from HMRC.” The agency, however, has not taken custody of the NFTs and is instead preventing them from being sold via court order, according to Sky News.

The suspected organized and value added tax (VAT) fraud involves 250 alleged fake companies. Suspects used fake addresses, virtual private networks (VPNs), unregistered phones and stolen identities to try to hide illicit activities from the agency. 

The news follows another high-profile government seizure. Last week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) recouped more than $3.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency connected with the 2016 Bitfinex hack.

“Financial crime strikes at the core of our national and economic security,” Acting Executive Associate Director Steve Francis of Homeland Security Investigations said in a statement.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Top Icon.png


Osmosis thrived in H2 2023 on the back of increased DeFi activity deriving from recently launched Cosmos-related projects and better market conditions. With new value accrual mechanisms for the native token, Osmosis is well-positioned to continue its strong performance in 2024.



TBC President Lee Bratcher told Blockworks he’s “confident” about the Council’s case against the DOE


The Monday trading volumes total passes the previous high mark set on the fund’s first day of trading nearly seven weeks ago


The hearings are expected to last for a couple of days as the court hears arguments for and against the bankruptcy plan proposed by Genesis


Equities were mixed toward the end of Monday’s session while cryptocurrencies continued their rally


Though the opposing flow trend is likely to slow over time, industry watchers note, bitcoin fund assets could one day eclipse the $90 billion gold ETF space


Celestia had the first mover advantage. EigenDA has staked ether. What sets Avail apart?