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The US Department Of Justice Will Double Its Crypto Enforcement Teams To Combat Crimes

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is gearing up to augment its digital asset crime enforcement squads in the upcoming months, as part of broader initiatives aimed at mitigating crimes related to virtual assets.

Nicole Argentieri, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, revealed the department’s plans to restructure the division during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on July 20.

She stated that the National Crypto Enforcement Team (NCET) is set to become a fixed entity within the criminal division, responsible for overseeing cryptocurrency-related probes.

The NCET, which was established in 2021, has been involved in high-profile investigations and is now set to be integrated with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).

Despite the merger, the NCET will persist in its investigation and prosecution of related offenses, benefiting from the larger organizational structure and additional resources.

Argentieri stated, “It’s now time to elevate NCET to the next level. Incorporating it into the [Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section] will provide it with the resources and platform to achieve even more.”

Under the new structure, the team will be led by a new acting director, Claudia Quitoz. According to the briefing, the former director, Eun Young Choi, will transition to another role within the Department of Justice.

As an autonomous unit within the CCIPS, the NCET will receive maximum resources, with its prosecutors handling crypto fraud cases now on par with those in the CCIPS.

The staff count will also be doubled across critical areas in response to the increasing rate of crypto and cyber-related offenses in several states.

The NCET is an “an enormously successful startup.”

During her briefing, Argentieri applauded the achievements made by the NCET in combating ransomware crimes within the country over the past two years.

She observed that the team is exceptionally adept at tracing offenders through their crypto transactions and freezing these assets “before they reach Russia and other ransomware hotspots.”

The NCET was put into action with Choi elaborating on the department’s emphasis on decentralized finance theft and hacks. Among the notable challenges faced by the department was the high-profile FTX scandal.

The team has assisted in levying charges against Sam Bankman Fried, including investigations into FTX and its associated company, Alameda Research.

 

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

Every cryptocurrency has two main components: the units of digital exchange called “coins” and the network within which the exchange takes place. These units can be transferred between wallets and exchanged on exchanges. The networks in which these coins exist are called blockchains, which translates to “chains of blocks.”

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