Deputy Attorney General of the United States Lisa O. Monaco announced the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET).
The team aims to tackle complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.
Under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the NCET will combine the expertise of the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and other sections in the division, with experts detailed from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.
The team will also assist in tracing and recovery of assets lost to fraud and extortion, including cryptocurrency payments to ransomware groups.
The head of the NCET will report to the Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division and will be selected after an application process seeking an individual with experience with complex criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.
Once selected, the Team Leader will lead the team of attorneys from MLARS, CCIPS, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) detailed from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country.
The NCET builds upon MLARS’s Digital Currency Initiative and will be informed by the Department’s Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework, released in October 2020.
Because crimes involving cryptocurrency can take many forms, the NCET will not only pursue its own cases, but also support existing and future cases brought across the Criminal Division and in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country.
“Today we are launching the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team to draw on the Department’s cyber and money laundering expertise to strengthen our capacity to dismantle the financial entities that enable criminal actors to flourish — and quite frankly to profit — from abusing cryptocurrency platforms.
As the technology advances, so too must the Department evolve with it so that we’re poised to root out abuse on these platforms and ensure user confidence in these systems.”
said Deputy Attorney General Monaco.