US Justice Department assembles cryptocurrency enforcement team

The aptly named National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) will home in on cryptocurrency exchanges that commit crimes as well as mixing / tumbling services that attempt to make it harder for law enforcement to track funds. NCET members will also go after those involved in money laundering practices, we’re told, as well as assist in recovering assets lost via fraud or extortion, including payments made to ransomware groups.

The enforcement team will be supervised by Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. and staffed with experts from US Attorneys’ Offices. Agents from the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) will also lend their expertise to the team.

An individual to head the new division will be selected following an application process to determine the best candidate. Interested parties should have experience dealing with complex criminal investigations and prosecutions as well as a profound understanding of the tech behind cryptocurrencies and blockchains.

Ransomware has been a major headache as of late, and in some instances, it has serious real-world implications. Attacks on hospitals, for example, could put patients’ care at risk, and the recent attack on the Colonial Pipeline disrupted the supply of gasoline and diesel fuel for much of the US East Coast.

The DoJ said the NCET will not only pursue its own cases, but also support existing and future cases from US Attorneys’ Offices and its own criminal division.