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IRS Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) Chief Jim Lee recently announced his retirement after a long and successful career with the agency. Lee has been with IRS-CI since 1995 and has held various leadership positions within the organization, culminating in his appointment as Chief in 2020. Under his leadership, IRS-CI has conducted numerous high-profile financial crime investigations, including the takedown of the Hydra Market, the indictment of Robert T. Brockman for tax fraud, and the plea deal with Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

One of Lee’s proudest moments was receiving the 2023 Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service, recognizing his significant contributions to public service. He also highlighted the agency’s involvement in dismantling the Welcome to Video dark web child pornography site, which led to the rescue of several minor victims and the arrest of predators around the world. Additionally, Lee emphasized IRS-CI’s role in the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5), which aims to combat transnational tax crime through increased collaboration between law enforcement agencies.

Throughout his career, Lee has witnessed significant changes within IRS-CI, leading to the development of a cutting-edge, data-centric law enforcement agency. He predicts that the agency will continue to grow in areas such as analytics, cyber, and technology, with a focus on enhancing its investigative capabilities to keep pace with evolving financial crimes. Lee also emphasized the importance of international partnerships in combating global tax fraud, citing the J5 as a prominent example of successful collaboration among law enforcement agencies.

As Lee prepares to pass the torch to his successor, Guy Ficco, he expresses confidence in the future of IRS-CI and its continued success in combating financial crimes. He believes that investing in the right tools and technologies will be crucial for the agency to stay ahead of fraudsters in an increasingly complex financial landscape. Despite his imminent retirement, Lee remains passionate about IRS-CI’s mission and legacy, reflecting on his career as more than just a job but a fulfilling and impactful career in public service.

Looking back on his tenure, Lee recalls the challenges and successes he has experienced throughout his 29 years at IRS-CI. From high-profile investigations to leadership roles within the agency, Lee’s dedication to combating financial crimes and protecting the integrity of the tax system has left a lasting impact on IRS-CI and the broader law enforcement community. As he prepares to step down, Lee’s legacy as a respected leader and advocate for justice in financial crimes enforcement will continue to inspire and guide the agency in its future endeavors.

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