US Justice Department expands cryptocurrency enforcement team

Greater oversight of cryptocurrency transactions is coming

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) plans to double its crypto crime team launched in 2021. Not only will the unit add to the number of acting prosecutors, but it will also have a new leader. The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) will merge with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).

On July 20, the DoJ published remarks from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri’s speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, announcing the merger of the two teams. The joint effort will continue investigating and prosecuting crimes involving cryptocurrency abuse. Expressing that the NCET is “an enormously successful startup,” Argentieri stressed that the merger with a larger agency would provide it with renewed additional resources.

The merger will “more than double” the number of criminal attorneys open to work on criminal crypto cases, as any CCIPS lawyer could potentially be appointed to work on NCET cases. The NCET will also have computer crime and intellectual property work access.

There will also be a new agency acting director, as Argentieri thanked the inaugural Director of NCET, Eun Young Choi, for her efforts while naming Claudia Quiroz as the new head of the group. A former assistant US attorney in the Northern District of California, Quiroz has been a deputy director of NCET since its beginning.

The new “super-charged” unit’s first job will be combating ransomware crimes. The NCET will track lawbreakers through their crypto payments by freezing or seizing them “before they go to Russia or other ransomware hotspots.”

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