Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco Announces National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team | Takeover bid
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco today announced the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), to tackle complex investigations and prosecutions relating to criminal cryptocurrency abuses, in particular to crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services and money laundering infrastructures. actors. Under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr., NCET will combine the expertise of the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, Section Computer Crime and Intellectual Property (CCIPS) and other sections. in the division, with experts seconded from US prosecutors’ offices. The team will also help locate and recover assets lost due to fraud and extortion, including cryptocurrency payments to ransomware groups.
“Today, we are launching the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team to leverage the ministry’s expertise in cyber and money laundering to strengthen our ability to dismantle the financial entities that enable for criminal actors to thrive – and quite frankly profit – from the abuse of cryptocurrency platforms, ”the deputy prosecutor said. General Monaco. “As technology advances, the Department must also evolve with it so that we are prepared to eliminate abuse on these platforms and ensure user confidence in these systems. “
“The Criminal Division is already an established leader in the investigation and prosecution of cryptocurrency misuse,” Deputy Attorney General Polite said. “The creation of this team will build on this leadership by combining and coordinating the division’s expertise in this ever-evolving field to investigate and prosecute fraudulent abuse, illegal laundering and other criminal activities involving crypto currencies. “
The head of NCET will report to the Deputy Attorney General of the Criminal Division and will be selected after an application process seeking someone with experience in complex criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as the technology behind cryptocurrencies. and blockchain. Once selected, the team leader will lead the team of attorneys from MLARS, CCIPS, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSA) detailed from U.S. law offices across the country to identify, investigate, support and prosecute cases. against cryptocurrency exchanges, infrastructure providers, and other entities that allow the misuse of cryptocurrency and related products to commit or facilitate criminal activity.
It is important to note that the NCET will draw on the expertise established within the Criminal Division to deter, disrupt, investigate and prosecute the misuse of cryptocurrency, as well as to recover the illicit proceeds of these crimes. to the extent possible. Because cryptocurrency is used in a wide variety of criminal activities, ranging from the primary request mechanism for ransomware payments to money laundering and the operation of illegal or unregistered money service businesses, in Through the preferred medium of value exchange in ‘dark markets’ for illegal drugs, weapons, malware and other hacking tools, NCET will foster the development of expertise in cryptocurrency technologies and of blockchain in all aspects of the department’s work. NCET will also play a critical supporting role for international, federal, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement authorities grappling with these new technologies and new forms of criminal trade.
Details of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team
NCET builds on MLARS ‘digital currency initiative and will be informed by the ministry’s Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework, released in October 2020. Since crimes involving cryptocurrency can take many forms, the NCET will not only pursue its own business, but also support existing and future business. laid through the Criminal Division and in US prosecutor’s offices across the country.
Members of the NCET team will come from three initial sources: MLARS, CCIPS and members of the criminal division of US prosecutors’ offices across the country. Team members will draw on the expertise of their home offices while working collaboratively under the leadership of the team leader to combine their expertise in financial systems, blockchain technology, transaction tracing and applicable criminal laws to combat illegal activities involving cryptocurrency in a structured manner. The NCET:
- Investigating and prosecuting cryptocurrency cases, which is a central part of a nationwide enforcement effort to combat the use of cryptocurrency as an illicit tool.
- Develop strategic priorities for investigations and prosecutions involving cryptocurrency, in consultation with the USAO, components of the department and investigative agencies involved in cryptocurrency investigations.
- Identify areas requiring increased attention in investigation and prosecution, including professional money launderers, ransomware programs, human traffickers, narcotics traffickers, and financial institutions working with cryptocurrency.
- Build and improve relationships with AUSAs and cryptocurrency-focused prosecutors with other components and litigation offices in the department to conduct cryptocurrency investigations and prosecutions.
- Develop and maintain relationships with federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies that investigate and prosecute cryptocurrency cases.
- Train and advise federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in developing investigative and prosecution strategies. This training and advice will include the provision of advice regarding search and seizure warrants, restraining orders, criminal and civil confiscation allegations, indictments and other pleadings.
- Support the coordination and sharing of information and evidence between law enforcement offices to maximize the effectiveness of ministry investigations, prosecutions and confiscations involving cryptocurrency.
- Collaborate and build relationships with private sector actors with expertise in cryptocurrency to advance the law enforcement mission.
NCET will work closely with other federal agencies, subject matter experts and its law enforcement partners across government.