Update: Lead Crypto Prosecutor Joins U.S. National Crypto Enforcement Team

February 21, 2022
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The U.S. Department of Justice has appointed Eun Young Choi to serve as the first director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has appointed Eun Young Choi to serve as the first director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET).

The NCET was set up last October to 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.

Choi has been with the DOJ for nearly a decade, most recently serving as senior counsel to the deputy attorney general.

She was previously an assistant U.S. attorney and cybercrime coordinator for the Southern District of New York where she investigated and prosecuted cyber, complex fraud and money laundering crimes. Her particular focus was on network intrusions, digital currency, the dark web and national security investigations.

In this role, she was lead prosecutor in several high-profile cases, including the operation of Coin.mx, an unlicensed virtual currency exchange, as well as the only U.S. prosecution brought in connection with the Panama Papers.

She has successfully argued the appeal in the case against the founder and chief administrator of Silk Road, the notorious darknet marketplace.

The NCET will work in close collaboration with other agencies, including the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, U.S. attorneys, the National Security Division and the FBI’s new Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit.

“The NCET will play a pivotal role in ensuring that as the technology surrounding digital assets grows and evolves, the department in turn accelerates and expands its efforts to combat their illicit abuse by criminals of all kinds,” Choi commented.

Original story: We Are Hiring! U.S. Agencies Are Looking For Crypto Experts
Published on January 11, 2022

U.S. state and federal agencies are increasingly looking for crypto experts to add to their ranks. Meanwhile, New York state announces the appointment of a new virtual currency chief.

As U.S. agencies are beefing up their enforcement actions against unlawful crypto companies, or trying to recover proceeds of ransomware payments paid in crypto, both state and federal agencies are ramping up efforts to add cryptocurrency experts to their ranks.

Most recently, Peter Marton, former digital asset director at IBM’s Promontory Financial Group, announced on his linkedin that he is joining the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) as deputy superintendent of virtual currency.

“Crypto supervision should be a marathon not a sprint, and I look forward to continue this effort in earnest,” Marton said in his post.

New York is one of the few states that has its own licensing and supervisory framework specifically tailored for businesses engaged in cryptocurrency activities.

Crypto firms can apply either for a so-called BitLicense or for limited-purpose trust company charters with additional approval to conduct virtual currency business. Either way, companies must register with the NYDFS if they want to serve New Yorkers.

According to the August job description, the virtual currency chief will have “a special focus on virtual currencies, digital currencies, blockchain, distributed ledger technology, and other related innovative and derivative products and technologies.”

They will provide “expertise to support policy decisions and the regulation of emerging and innovative markets,” including virtual currencies, and will provide leadership to guide the NYDFS’ strategy on cryptocurrency issues and engage with the industry.

Marton’s role includes responsibility for directing the development of enforcement procedures relating to virtual currencies and facilitating two-way communication between the NYDFS and the industry.

The NYDFS has been searching for a crypto expert since August when former virtual currency chief Jonathan Blattmachr left the agency to join a private crypto platform.

Following the sharp rise of the crypto market last year, there has been an increasing demand from U.S. regulators to add crypto experts to their ranks.

In July, the Treasury’s independent bureau, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that Michele Korver joined the agency to fulfil the newly created position of chief digital currency advisor to the Director of FinCEN.

Money service businesses (MSBs), such as virtual currency exchanges or crypto ATMs, must register with FinCEN and comply with certain anti-money laundering (AML) recordkeeping requirements.

By adding Korver to its team, FinCEN expects to advance its “leadership role” in the digital currency space to prevent and mitigate illicit financial practices and exploitation

Korver joined FinCEN from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal division, where she served as digital currency counsel and advised government attorneys and federal agents on digital currency matters. In other roles, she also worked on developing cryptocurrency seizure and forfeiture policy and legislation.

Late last year, the DOJ also began its search for an expert to serve as crypto enforcement director to lead the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET).

This will support the DOJ’s crackdown against criminals that use cryptocurrencies as a ransom. Launched in October, NCET aims to “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.”

As the use of cryptocurrencies has increased, so has its abuse. State and federal agencies are increasingly looking for experts in the virtual currency field to improve their understanding of the fast-changing industry and increase the efficacy of their enforcement actions.

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