US launches Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, goes after crypto criminals

*The point is to protect consumers against the crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering, says US Deputy Attorney-General Lisa O. Monaco

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of reported persistent infractions in the crypto world in several economies in recent times, the United States Government has inaugurated the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) to tackle and prosecute “criminal misuses of cryptocurrency.

ConsumerConnect learnt this measure, an initiative of the US Department of Justice (DOJ), embraces particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering.”

Deputy Attorney-General Lisa O. Monaco said: “The point is to protect consumers.”

Federal, state, and local governments can count on help from the new enforcement team.

October of the year is turning out to be a bad month for cryptocurrency lawbreakers, according to report.

The US DOJ, Thursday, October 7 announced that it has created a special team of its own to keep criminal misuses of cryptocurrency to a minimum in the country.

In the agency’s announcement, Monaco said the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) will not only tackle thorny investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency.

The US Deputy Attorney-General stated that she would also be especially vigilant regarding crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering.

As regards the responsibility of team, authorities noted that the new team would also assist in tracing and recovery of assets lost to fraud and extortion, including cryptocurrency payments to ransomware groups, such as the one involved in the Colonial Pipeline attack earlier this year.

“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,” said Monaco.

Diving deep to find crypto criminals in ‘dark markets’

It is noted that the NCET realises that the people behind cryptocurrency crimes can be sneaky, often doing their deeds in what the agency called “dark markets” ─the underbelly of the Internet where illegal drugs, weapons, hacking tools, and malware are sold.

Therefore, in order to at those people, the DOJ disclosed that it would apply the expertise of 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 those dark markets and bad actors are difficult to find and bring to justice, the NCET said it would foster the development of a higher level of expertise in cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies across all aspects of the Department’s work, report added.

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