News | Story

US Justice Department taps new cryptocurrency czar

US Justice Department taps new cryptocurrency czar

In her new role as team leader, Eun Young Choi will be responsible for researching and prosecuting illegal cryptocurrency schemes.
The Justice Department has appointed a seasoned cybersecurity prosecutor to oversee a new team tasked with investigating and prosecuting illegal cryptocurrency schemes perpetrated by hackers and nation-states, such as North Korea and Iran.
On Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced that Eun Young Choi would be the inaugural head of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, which will serve as the focal point for efforts to detect and dismantle the abuse of cryptocurrencies other digital assets.

‘If we’re going to see cryptocurrencies getting greater momentum and broader use, as I believe we will, we have to make sure that the environment in which they operate can be trusted and, frankly, can be policed,’ Monaco said during a recent interview. The company will make it their business to go after them and recover the money and make it apparent to them that they will not be able to hide.
As firms and investors seek more enormous profits while gaining a footing in a technology that is still considered in its early stages, the $2 trillion cryptocurrency markets have exploded in recent years.
Efforts are being made to determine the best way to police that space — as well as the market for other digital assets such as nonfungible tokens — which has emerged as a new frontier for criminals and rogue states in their efforts to steal and launder billions of dollars through anonymous avenues such as blockchain transactions, encryption, and digital wallets.

According to Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics company, illicit transactions will have increased by over 80% to $14 billion in 2021, representing an all-time high. Nonetheless, according to the business, cybercrime represented a considerably lower proportion of overall crypto transaction volume, which rose dramatically last year.
The investigation of illicit conduct on virtual currency exchanges and bitcoin tumbler, or mixing, services, which are used to conceal tainted cash, will be a primary priority for the new team, according to Choi in an interview.

READ:  Bitcoin And Ethereum Are Trading Sideways, While Evergrow Is Distributing $35 Million: The Latest Cryptocurrency News

Choi, who is affectionately referred to as “EYC” by her colleagues, most recently worked as senior counsel to the government of Monaco on cybersecurity problems. There are already more than a dozen experienced prosecutors on the crypto team, which is based inside the department’s criminal section, with plans to employ more staff members.
To do this, Choi, 41, is attempting to consolidate the department to serve as a one-stop shop for all of the subject matter specialists in the organization.
According to Monaco, the main priority would be the filing of lawsuits against cryptocurrency exchanges and other businesses that are found to be breaching the law and facilitating the flow of criminal funds. The establishment of the crypto squad was revealed in October. The team would assist with existing investigations while also pursuing new ones.

The Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service are investigating whether Binance Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform, is being used as a conduit for money laundering and tax evasion, according to a story published by Bloomberg News earlier this month.
Choi said that her team is reaching out to cryptocurrency businesses that have rigorous anti-money-laundering rules and excellent compliance procedures, as well as blockchain analytics organizations, to see if they can help.

According to her, “the information they have is critical to weeding out cryptocurrency abuse because they’re the ones who may observe suspicious activity occurring in their systems,” which is vital in identifying cryptocurrency misuse.
In a reminder of the magnitude of the difficulty that U.S. law enforcement confronts, the Justice Department this month confiscated Bitcoin worth around $3.6 billion that had been taken during a 2016 attack, making it the most significant financial seizure in history. Additionally, according to the Department of Justice, the U.S. Marshals Service, which serves as the department’s principal custodian of confiscated assets, had $919 million in 22 different cryptocurrencies by the end of 2021.

READ:  US lawmakers and Fed Chair Push for Crypto Regulation in Wake of Russia Sanctions

Experienced Prosecutor

Choi’s nomination comes after years of hunting hacker and crypto assault perpetrators worldwide.
The successful prosecution of the 2014 cyberattack against JPMorgan Chase & Co., in which hundreds of millions of dollars were taken by hackers and conspirators from more than a dozen nations, was one of her first significant cases. Aside from that, she represented Ross Ulbricht, creator and chief administrator of the now-defunct Silk Road underground virtual drug market, in an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to Edward Imperatore, who worked with Choi in the cybercrime unit of the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, “her appointment demonstrates that cryptocurrency is truly at the intersection of complex financial investigations, cybersecurity, anti-money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and cross-border enforcement.” “She has extensive knowledge and expertise in each of these areas.”

As cryptocurrencies have been more widely accepted, the potential for wrongdoing has grown enormously as a result. According to Choi, crypto fraud, today encompasses a wide range of criminal behavior, including financial crimes, bribery, drug cases, ransomware attacks, cyber-attacks, money laundering, terrorist funding, and sanctions evasion, among other activities.
Choi’s team will be in charge of the department’s attempts to collaborate with law enforcement authorities in the United States and abroad and with regulatory organizations and private enterprises. The criminal division’s current efforts to offer assistance and training to federal, state, local and international law enforcement authorities will be strengthened due to this initiative.
According to reports, the Federal Bureau of Investigation also intends to announce the formation of a new virtual asset exploitation team on Thursday.

READ:  Ukraine Government Prepares First-of-its-kind Airdrop to Crypto Donors

According to Choi, “It will be critical for us to work together to decide what tools and authority we will all be bringing to this approach on digital assets,” he said.
However, there is some conflict between the activities of private enterprises dealing with cryptocurrency and those of the government.
According to a former federal prosecutor who requested anonymity to comment about the department’s dealings with private companies, private corporations are anxious that the Department of Justice and other regulatory agencies will adopt an overly aggressive stance in enforcement cases.

For years, U.S. government agencies struggled to persuade businesses to reveal hacking incidents and cyber vulnerabilities. Those in the private sector were concerned that sharing their experiences would place them in prosecutors’ sights or that they would face regulatory repercussions. However, authorities in the United States have voiced optimism that they have turned a corner in recent years, particularly in light of successful measures to assist firms in recovering stolen assets.
In addition to this month’s Bitcoin seizure in connection with the Bitfinex hacking case, the United States recovered almost all of the Bitcoin ransom paid to the perpetrators of a cyber attack on Colonial Pipeline Co., which resulted in a fuel shortage along the east coast of the United States last year.
In the seventeenth paragraph, a statement from a former coworker is included as an update.
Thanks to Allyson Versprille, Tom Schoenberg, and Christian Berthelsen for their support.


Your email address will not be published.