The Internal Audit of the United States Postal Inspection Service suggested that an “extensive crypto training program” be implemented to handle the agency’s investigatory risks.
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the postal service’s law enforcement arm, conducted an internal evaluation of its crypto-related investigations and discovered that there was a substantial possibility for improvement.
There were only a handful of crypto-related cases resolved by the USPIS during the two fiscal years under consideration — 2019, 2020 — including four closed cases in which postal inspectors seized cryptocurrency as evidence during an investigation and nine other cases managed through the USPIS’ 2017-established “Cryptocurrency Fund Program.”
To assist investigators in recording and mitigating any operational dangers associated with crypto transactions, the effort was created to establish standards and methods.
It has been pointed out by the researchers that, due to the secrecy of bitcoin transactions and the substantial volatility in value, there is the potential for misuse or theft in law enforcement efforts.
Despite the small amount of crypto-related activity, the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) determined that a self-initiated audit was necessary because cryptos are used as the preferred means of exchange in online scams, ransomware attacks, and money laundering. The audit was conducted by the OIG.
According to the audit study, a lack of adequate training for USPIS employees during the two fiscal years under investigation was identified during the audit of the agency.
According to the rules of the Cryptocurrency Fund Program, undercover postal inspectors who collected crypto while working as part of their investigation were not permitted to utilize the cryptocurrency they had obtained.
Even though the software has been used by inspectors in certain circumstances to account for cryptocurrency transactions for investigative purposes, the audit found that it is difficult to use in scenarios where certain merchants only accept payment in particular private currencies.
Inspectors were required to get US dollar currency for examining crypto-to-fiat conversions and to take personal responsibility for any funds that remained after the assessment.
According to the audit, when it came to tracking the cryptocurrencies used for investigative reasons, management and inspectors’ communication fell short, making it difficult for the program’s leadership to account for all of the digital money.
This forced the auditors to conduct a manual keyword search to see if cryptography was employed in specific inquiry cases, which resulted in the discovery of 1,064 different case numbers that would now be manually probed.
The results of the audit are summarized in the following statement: “As a result, the United States Postal Service’s difficulties in providing services would be worsened by the loss of federal funds and government assets.”
This responsibility should go to the United States Postal Service (USPS), which should also be in charge of providing assistance to the Cryptocurrency Fund Program and monitoring its operation. Additionally, the USPS should develop a thorough cryptocurrency training program for all inspectors.
Additionally, it recommended that the agency re-organize its existing data management on investigative transactions, which is incorrect and contains duplicates, and which would hamper the agency’s capacity to effectively monitor and manage its crypto-related criminal enforcement efforts.
This year, according to Margaret McDavid, the United States Postal Inspection Service was “part of a coordinated campaign to dismantle the Wall Street Dark Web Marketplace.” As a result, over $25 million in crypto was seized by the Postal Inspection Service.