John D. (Don) Fort is the Director of Investigations at Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP, and the immediate past Chief of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (CI) Division. Having spent nearly 30 years in law enforcement for the federal government, Mr. Fort has deep expertise in financial crimes, and has developed an extensive network of connections both within the government and in private industry. At K&F, he now assists clients facing governmental investigations involving all manner of alleged financial and economic crimes, including tax controversies or suspected tax crimes, money laundering, and Bank Secrecy Act violations. Mr. Fort also is involved in conducting internal investigations and advising clients on compliance regimes. He is available as an expert witness and for voluntary or court-mandated monitorships.
Mr. Fort’s time in law enforcement included overseeing investigations of some of the most significant financial crimes involving tax evasion, sanctions evasion, money laundering, bribery, international corruption, bank malfeasance, cyber and cryptocurrency crimes, and terrorist financing.
As Chief of IRS-CI from 2017 to 2020, Mr. Fort led the sixth largest U.S. law enforcement agency, managing a budget of over $625 million and a worldwide staff of approximately 3,000, including 2,100 special agents in 21 IRS field offices and 11 foreign countries. Mr. Fort modernized IRS-CI by developing cutting-edge, data-centric methods of detecting criminal non-compliance through algorithms and other models. Mr. Fort also significantly expanded IRS-CI’s capabilities in cyber-crime and cryptocurrency investigations, and expanded the agency’s international presence and footprint. Mr. Fort led IRS-CI in identifying and investigating over $11.5 billion in tax loss and $14.8 billion in other criminal proceeds.
As both Chief and Deputy Chief of IRS-CI, he oversaw numerous high-profile matters, including the college admissions scandal known as “Varsity Blues” that ensnared several celebrities; the Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen federal tax investigations; the Michael Avenatti tax investigation; the takedown of the largest darknet child exploitation website funded by cryptocurrency; two Chinese nationals who were charged with laundering $100 million in the hack of a cryptocurrency exchange; the Swiss Bank Program in which 80 Swiss banks entered into agreements with the government and paid $1.36 billion in penalties; the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) worldwide money laundering, structuring, and tax evasion matter; the Credit Suisse guilty plea, and many more.
Mr. Fort began his IRS career in 1991 as a Special Agent in Baltimore, Maryland, and later served as Supervisory Special Agent in Orlando, Florida; Senior Analyst and Acting Director, Office of Special Investigative Techniques; Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Field Offices; Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Field Office; and Deputy Director of Strategy, IRS-CI Headquarters.
Mr. Fort entered the Senior Executive Service in January 2011, when he was appointed to serve as a Director of Field Operations--the position he held until his appointment as Deputy Chief, IRS-CI. In 2020, Mr. Fort was the recipient of the ACAMS Public-Private Partnership Award.
Mr. Fort is an accomplished public speaker and serves as an expert in law enforcement, leadership, financial crimes, and enhancing public-private partnerships. As Chief of IRS-CI, Mr. Fort was also regularly called upon to deliver media briefings and give interviews on important matters before the IRS. Mr. Fort has extensive experience in briefing high-level government officials, has testified before Congress and has provided numerous briefings to congressional staff.
Mr. Fort has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management from Gettysburg College and is a licensed CPA in the State of Virginia.
Virtual currencies, including cryptocurrency, have recently received significant attention from the IRS, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division, and other law enforcement agencies. The panelists, led by ...