Recently, the US Department of Justice made a significant decision in response to the rise of criminal activities in the field of cryptocurrency, especially in Russia and other countries. They announced that they would double the number of members in the crypto crime team. This team, known as the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), will merge with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) to create a more robust and resourceful unit.
The newly merged team, under the leadership of the new acting director Claudia Quiroz, will continue to focus on investigating and prosecuting criminal offenses related to the misuse of cryptocurrency. By combining NCET with CCIPS, the team will have access to additional resources, and the number of criminal division attorneys working on crypto-related cases will more than double.
One of the main priorities for the expanded unit will be to combat ransomware crimes, specifically by tracking criminals through their crypto payments and taking action to freeze or seize funds before they reach ransomware hotspots like Russia. The NCET, which was launched as part of the DoJ’s Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework in 2021, has been successful in dealing with thefts and hacks involving decentralized finance and chain bridges. With the new expansion, the team aims to further enhance its capabilities in tackling crypto-related criminal activities.
Recently, on May 17, 2023, the United States Department of Justice charged a Russian citizen named Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev with a crypto-ransomware scheme targeting US infrastructure. The accused carried out attacks against several victims throughout the United States using multiple ransomware methods to target infrastructure worldwide.
Along with all these crypto-strengthening activities, on June 20, five US enforcement agencies formed an anti-crime task force to investigate crimes related to digital currency and darknet marketplaces. The prime objective of this task force is to target cryptocurrency crime, including money laundering, drug trafficking, and child exploitation. Such initiatives are taken by the government to protect investors and crypto users and curb criminal activities in the crypto space.