Cryptocurrency crimes are under the microscope as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) steps up enforcement efforts with the formation of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), according to a press release on Thursday (Oct. 7).
The DOJ said that crimes involving crypto vary a great deal, which means that NCET will not only go after its own cases but will also assist with current and future matters nationwide across the Criminal Division and in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. The NCET will also collaborate with other federal agencies, subject matter experts and other government law enforcement partners.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said that NCET will enforce laws surrounding “criminal misuses of cryptocurrency,” with a closer look into crimes committed by digital currency exchanges, “mixing and tumbling services,” and infrastructure related to money laundering.
NCET brings together the unique talent and special expertise from the DOJ Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), and Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS). Members will also come from other sections in the division as well as from experts from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.
“Team members will combine their expertise in financial systems, blockchain technology, tracing transactions and applicable criminal statutes to address illegal activity involving cryptocurrency in a structured way,” the DOJ wrote in the release.
The team will also assist with tracking down assets lost to fraud and extortion, which includes ransomware payments.
Read more: Stablecoin Tether Faces DOJ Probe
Monaco said that NCET was formed to pool talent and resources in a concentrated effort to lead the fight against criminal activity involving cryptocurrency and cyberattacks.
“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,” Monaco said.
The head of NCET will report to the Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division; the candidacy process is underway. The NCET unit builds on the MLARS’s Digital Currency Initiative and will be informed by the Department’s Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework.