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John D. (Don) Fort

Don Fort

John D. (Don) Fort

Director of Investigations


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Washington, D.C.
T: 202-790-6994
F: 202-844-3500

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. 

Gettysburg College, B.A. in Management (1990)

Certified Public Accountant (CPA), State of VA, License #19021

U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) (August 1991 – September 2020)

Don began his Government career as an IRS Special Agent in August 1991. He served in various roles over 29 years, with the last nine years spent as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). Don worked his way up from an entry field special agent to serve as the Deputy Chief and Chief of IRS-Criminal Investigation, the sixth largest federal law enforcement agency in the United States. Over the past two decades, Don has provided critical oversight and guidance on a wide array of high profile, sensitive, and complex criminal investigations:

  • 6/2017 – 9/2020: Chief (Senior Executive Service)
  • 8/2014 – 6/2017: Deputy Chief (Senior Executive Service): IRS-CI
  • 1/2011 – 8/2014: Director, Field Operations (Western and Northern Areas) (SES)
  • 2/2010 – 1/2011: Deputy Director, Strategy, Washington, D.C. Headquarters
  • 3/2009 – 2/2010: Special Agent in Charge, Philadelphia Field Office
  • 7/2006 – 3/2009: Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Field Offices
  • 7/2003 – 7/2006: Section Director/Senior Analyst, Special Investigative Techniques, Washington, D.C.
  • 2/1999 – 7/2003: Supervisory Special Agent, Orlando, FL
  • 8/1991 – 2/1999: Special Agent, Washington, D.C. Field Office
  • Member, AICPA
  • Member, ACAMS
  • Affiliated Professional Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Association of Former Special Agents (AFSA)
  • Member, Advisory Board, AML RightSource
  • Panelist, Criminal Tax Update, University of North Carolina Tax Institute (December 4, 2020)
  • Radio Interview, The Federal Drive with Tom Temins (December 2020)
  • Panelist, What Every Estate Planning and Tax Advisor Should Know About Criminal Tax and Financial Crimes, Hawaii State Bar Association Virtual Meeting (December 1, 2020)
  • Featured Speaker, Fireside Chat with John Byrne, SAS Virtual Event (August 12, 2020)
  • Podcast, IRS-CI Overview, Baker-Tilly Podcast Series (August 11, 2020)
  • Virtual Keynote Address, IRS-CI Chief Don Fort, 2020 Virtual Annual International Symposium on Economic Crime (August 2020)
  • Featured Podcast, Interview with IRS-CI Chief Don Fort, TaxGirl podcast with Kelly Phillips Erb (July 30, 2020)
  • Panelist, Update: Criminal Investigation, American Bar Association Section of Taxation Virtual May Meeting (July 14, 2020)
  • Panelist, Following the Money (including digital currency) – The Current State of International Criminal Tax Enforcement, American Bar Association Virtual 20th U.S. and Europe Tax Practice Trends Conference (July 7, 2020)
  • Panelist, IRS New Emphasis on Fraud Enforcement and Criminal Investigations, 2020 University of San Diego Tax Controversy Forum (July 17, 2020)
  • Panelist, BOD Commissioner Roundtable, NYU Tax Controversy Forum 2020 (June 18, 2020)
  • Panelist, Tax Compliance and Enforcement Roundtable: The New Era of Inter-Division Collaboration, NYU Tax Controversy Forum 2020 (June 18, 2020)
  • Panelist, ACAMS 24 Hour Virtual Summit (May 2020)
  • Panelist, Criminal Tax Update, Federal Bar Association 2020 Tax Law Conference, Washington, D.C. (March 6, 2020)
  • Moderator, Denying Traffickers Illicit Revenue, HIDTA Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. (February 6, 2020)
  • Keynote Speaker, North Texas Crime Commission, Dallas, TX (January 9, 2020)
  • Panelist, Terrorist Financing: Trends and Threats, ABA/ABA Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference (December 8, 2019)
  • Keynote address, Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) (New York, NY, December 5, 2019)
  • Keynote address: Chainalysis Links event, New York, NY (New York, NY, November 15, 2019)
  • Keynote address: 37th Annual International Symposium on Economic Crime (Cambridge, UK, September 3, 2019)
  • Keynote address: Casino Essentials Money Laundering Event (Las Vegas, NV, August 14, 2019)
  • Keynote address: 4th University of San Diego Annual Tax Controversy Institute (San Diego, CA, July 19, 2019)
  • Keynote address: OpRisk North America (New York, NY, June 17, 2019)
  • Wall Street Journal Interview: Chief Financial Officer Event (Washington, DC, June 11, 2019)
  • Keynote address: West Coast Anti-Money Laundering Conference (San Francisco, CA, May 2, 2019)
  • Keynote address: 35th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud (Las Vegas, NV, December 4, 2018)
  • Keynote address: 8th Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy (Las Vegas, NV, December 4, 2018)
  • Keynote address: 36th Annual International Symposium on Economic Crime (Cambridge, UK, September 2, 2018)
  • Keynote address: Mid-Atlantic Anti-Money Laundering Conference (Washington, DC, July 24, 2018)
  • Keynote address: New York Accounting and Finance Show (NY, NY, July 12, 2018)
  • Congressional Hearing Testimony: House Ways and Means Subcommittee (June 20, 2018)
  • Keynote address: Arizona Anti-Money Laundering Forum (Phoenix, AZ, May 22, 2018)
  • Keynote address: Peace Officers Memorial Day (Brunswick, GA, May 1, 2018)
  • Television appearance: CBS Evening News (April 4, 2018)
  • Keynote address: Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum (Paris, France, March 28, 2018)
  • Keynote address: Federal Bar Association Tax Law Conference, Washington, D.C. (March 9, 2018)
  • Television appearance: NBC Nightly news (March 6, 2018)
  • From January 2016 through 2020, Don has led or participated in over 50 panels as an expert in law enforcement, leadership, and financial crimes.
  • Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (ACAMS): 2020 Private-Public Partnership Award