US Justice Department Announces National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that it has created a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) to tackle cryptocurrency crimes. Under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team will investigate the criminal activities of virtual currency exchanges and other money-laundering infrastructure actors.

In an official announcement, DOJ mentioned that the NCET will provide support in tracing and recovery of cryptocurrency assets lost to fraud and extortion, including digital payments to ransomware groups. The team will combine the expertise of the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) with other sections in the division.

Commenting on the latest announcement, DOJ’s Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, said: “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.”

Cryptocurrency Crimes

Digital currencies are gaining popularity in the US. The total number of cryptocurrency users in the country has increased by more than 100% within the first six months of 2021. With rising adoption, crypto-related crimes have also jumped substantially. Through the latest setup of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, the DOJ is planning to reduce illegal crypto activities in the region.

“Importantly, the NCET will draw and build upon the established expertise across the Criminal Division to deter, disrupt, investigate, and prosecute criminal misuse of cryptocurrency, as well as to recover the illicit proceeds of those crimes whenever possible. Because cryptocurrency is used in a wide variety of criminal activity, from being the primary demand mechanism for ransomware payments to money laundering and the operation of illegal or unregistered money services businesses,” DOJ added.

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