According to a Wall Street Journal report, the US Department of Justice is redesigning its National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), a unit created nearly two years ago to investigate cryptocurrency-related crimes.
According to senior Justice Department official Nicole Argentieri, NCET will become a permanent part of a section within the department’s criminal division that handles a variety of computer-related investigations and will also have a new head, Claudia Quiroz, following the departure of current director Eun Young Choi.
Criminal Division prosecutors will also work with other government agencies to address the ransomware problem.
Justice Department ramps up crypto enforcement efforts
The NCET was established in 2021 to investigate and prosecute criminal offenses involving cryptocurrency abuse, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and demolition services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.
Since then, the team has played a role in many of the Justice Department’s crypto-related cases, including the investigation of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and the indictment of the founder and majority shareholder of the Hong Kong-based exchange Bitzlato.
According to the announcement, the merger will double the number of attorneys available to work on criminal cryptocurrency cases and increase cryptocurrency work within the Criminal Division by giving equal status to computer crime and intellectual property work.
The Director of the KKPT will personally have the authority to approve charging decisions and other steps in investigations and court proceedings.
Additionally, the reorganization will put prosecutors working on cryptocurrency-related cases on an equal footing with those working on computer and intellectual property cases. The NCET revamp follows the Department of Justice’s creation of a National Security Cyber Section, which will focus on cyber attacks by nation-state actors and other cyber threats to US national security.
According to Nicole Argentieri, the organizational changes reflect the recognition by Justice Department leadership that expertise in digital assets and other emerging technologies is critical to staying ahead of the criminal and national security threats facing the US.
The announcement of the merger is an important step in the fight against cybercrime. It demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to fending off new threats posed by the nascent industry and other emerging technologies.
As the digital asset industry continues to grow, the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat cryptocurrency-related violations will play an increasingly critical role in maintaining the integrity of the financial system and protecting the public from criminal activity.
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