U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) during a virtual speech at the Aspen Cyber Summit Wednesday. Specifically, the initiative aims to investigate and prosecute cases of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors, the Department of Justice explained subsequently. In addition to tracing and recovering assets, the team will assist with ransomware payments and the recovery of assets lost to fraud.
Monaco was quoted as saying, “We are today launching the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team. We won’t hesitate to go after laundering platforms and are drawing on cyber experts and prosecutors, and money laundering experts.”
Various experts from the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be part of the Department of Cryptocurrency Enforcement team, which aims to “strengthen” the ability of the DOJ to shut down financial networks that allow cybercriminals to flourish.
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Monaco also said, “Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future. Well, we need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they’re using these systems and we need to be poised to root out abuse. The point is to protect consumers.”
Wednesday, the deputy attorney general announced another DOJ initiative. The new civil cyber fraud initiative will “use civil enforcement tools to pursue companies, those who are government contractors, who receive federal funds, when they fail to follow recommended cybersecurity standards,” she detailed. “For too long, companies have chosen silence under the mistaken belief that it’s less risky to hide a breach than to bring it forward and report it. That changes today.”
President Joe Biden announced last week that the U.S. would be bringing together 30 countries this month to address cybercrime issues, including the “illicit use of cryptocurrencies.”