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The US Department of Justice will double its cryptocurrency team and focus on ransomware attacks

The US Department of Justice will double its cryptocurrency team and focus on ransomware attacks

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that it will double the staff of its cryptocrime team created in 2021. The division will increase its number of acting attorneys and have a new chief.

On July 20, the DoJ General Reports by Nicole Argentieri, Principal Deputy Attorney General at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In his speech, Argentieri announced the merger of two DoJ groups: the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Unit (CCIPS) and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET).

After joining CCIPS, NCET will continue its functions to investigate and prosecute criminal offenses related to misuse of cryptocurrencies. Argentieri called NCET a “hugely successful start” and emphasized that merging with a larger framework would provide additional new resources.

The number of Criminal Division lawyers working on cryptocurrency criminal matters will “more than double” as any CCIPS lawyer can be assigned to work on an NCET case. NCET will also have access to cybercrime and intellectual property.

The agency will also have a new director. Argentieri thanked NCET’s inaugural director, Eun Young Choi, for her work and appointed Claudia Quiroz as the team’s new leader. Quiroz, a former assistant district attorney for the Northern District of California, has been NCET’s deputy director since its inception.

The immediate task for the new “turbo-charged” unit is to combat ransomware crime. NCET focuses on tracking criminals through their cryptocurrency payments, freezing or confiscating them “before they make their way to Russia and other ransomware hotspots.”

NCET goes live in 2021 as part of DoJ’s cryptocurrency regulatory framework. In May 2023, former director Choi said the department was focusing on thefts and hacks related to decentralized finance and “especially chain bridges”.

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