The Justice Department has announced the creation of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team or NCET. 

The NCET's main task is to tackle and investigate cryptocurrency-related crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, among others. The NCET is also set to work with different federal and law enforcement agencies as well as experts in order to carry out its duty. 

Criminal misuse of cryptocurrency includes money laundering and using crypto as a demand mechanism for ransomware payments. 

Justice Department Announces NCET

The Justice Department has announced the creation of a team that will investigate and prosecute cryptocurrency-related criminal acts. According to an announcement made by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, the new team is called the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). 

Per a press release posted on the website of the Department of Justice, the NCET will "tackle complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors."

"Today we are launching the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team to draw on the Department's cyber and money laundering expertise to strengthen our capacity to dismantle the financial entities that enable criminal actors to flourish - and quite frankly to profit - from abusing cryptocurrency platforms," the Deputy Attorney General said in her announcement. 

According to the press release, the NCET will be supervised by Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. The team combines the expertise of different sections of the Department of Justice's Criminal Division. 

These sections include the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS). 

What the NCET Will Do

The NCET will "draw and build upon the established expertise across the Criminal Division to deter, disrupt, investigate, and prosecute criminal misuse of cryptocurrency, as well as to recover the illicit proceeds of those crimes whenever possible."

There is no team head yet for the NCET. The head will be chosen via an application process. The ideal team leader should have experience in complex criminal investigations and prosecution. He or she should also have experience with the technology used by the blockchain and different cryptocurrencies. 

Related Article: Government, Industry Enforces Cryptocurrency Regulation for Better Tracking of Ransomware Cases

Criminal Misuse of Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies
(Photo : David McBee from Pexels)

Per the Justice Department's press release, cryptocurrency has been used in different criminal activities, including the following:

  • Demand mechanism for ransomware payments

  • Money laundering

  • Means of payment in "dark markets" for illegal drugs, malware, and others

According to a report by Gizmodo, cryptocurrency "has largely been blamed for fueling the ransomware crisis in America-a threat that federal law enforcement is increasingly looking to combat."

An example of the government's effort to investigate and prosecute people and groups who engage in the criminal misuse of cryptocurrency is the arrest of cryptocurrency scammer Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson. The Swedish national was sentenced to 15 years in prison for money laundering and securities fraud. 

Also Read: 4 Alleged Men Behind Cryptocurrency Investment Scheme 'Oz Project' Now Arrested in Japan

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Written by Isabella James

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