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US: Trump task force eyes crypto crime

 |  July 15, 2018

The Trump administration has created a new task force that will focus on protecting consumers from one of the biggest fraud threats: crypto coins. Bloomberg noted that a focus of the panel, announced on Wednesday, July 11, will be on the scams involving bitcoin and other virtual tokens, including crimes like money laundering and investment schemes targeting the elderly.

According to an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, the new task force is led by the Justice Department and consists of agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The document cited “cyber fraud” and “digital currency fraud” as targets of the group’s work, with the group responsible with providing guidance for investigations, as well as recommending ways to improve cooperation among government agencies.

“Fraud committed by companies and their employees has a devastating impact on American citizens in the financial markets, the healthcare sector and elsewhere,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at a press briefing.

Rosenstein added that agencies would seek to better coordinate their various investigations to avoid placing several fines on a single company for the same violation. This will hopefully encourage firms to cooperate with investigations and report misconduct on their own.

The creation of the task force is another way for the administration to overhaul the CFPB. Last month, Trump nominated Kathy Kraninger to be the head of the CFPB, replacing Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. The move is seen as a step to further dismantle the regulations put in place by the Obama administration, as Kraninger doesn’t have experience in finance, banking or consumer issues.

Kraninger doesn’t believe government intervention is needed to foster robust entrepreneurship in the country, though she does think the government plays a role in stopping the fraudulent activity that could harm the markets and consumers.

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