The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced measures to improve its teams that investigate digital asset crimes in an effort to counteract the increasing tide of crimes using virtual assets. The department’s plan to restructure its division was disclosed on July 20 by Nicole Argentieri, the department’s principal deputy assistant attorney general, in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
As of right now, the criminal division’s National Crypto Enforcement Team (NCET), which was founded in 2021 to handle cryptocurrency-related investigations, will be a permanent entity. The NCET will combine with the DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) in order to further boost its capabilities. The team will have more resources and a bigger structure thanks to this integration, allowing them to handle more instances with success.
throughout high-profile cases, notably those involving ransomware attacks throughout the nation, the NCET has already shown its worth. The unit excelled in tracking criminals via their cryptocurrency transactions and freezing illegal assets before they could be moved to ransomware hotspots like Russia under the direction of its previous head, Eun Young Choi.
In the new arrangement, Claudia Quitoz will be named the NCET’s interim director, while Eun Young Choi will transfer to another post within the Justice Department. With the merger, the prosecutors from the NCET who handle cases involving crypto fraud will be on a same footing with those from the CCIPS, confirming the DOJ’s determination to taking on crimes involving digital assets more thoroughly.
The NCET will see a doubling of manpower in certain areas as the number of crypto- and cyber-related crimes continues to climb throughout numerous states. The team will concentrate on decentralized finance theft and hacking, and it will play a big part in numerous important cases, such as the Sam Bankman Fried FTX incident and the inquiries into FTX and its sister business Alameda Research. Additionally, the team has been actively engaged in cases involving the digital exchange Bitzlato, situated in Hong Kong, and, most recently, its investigation into Binance.
Former federal prosecutor Ari Redbord claims that new reforms and a better comprehension of these cases among prosecutors and investigators are required due to the changing nature of the digital asset field. The DOJ is aware of the importance of changing its strategy to handle crimes committed in the digital battlefield as blockchain technology receives more attention.
The strengthening of the DOJ’s capacity to effectively address crimes involving digital assets is accomplished in large part by the NCET’s growth and integration with the CCIPS. The department is equipped to handle the issues that arise as the digital world changes and to provide a secure environment for the usage of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.