Justice Department Names Leader of New Crypto Crime Task Force
The US Department of Justice announced the first director of the newly-formed National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team on Thursday, marking the beginning of a new era in crypto-related law enforcement. The department tapped Eun Young Choi, described as “a seasoned prosecutor,” to fulfill the inaugural duties for the position, which goes into effect immediately.
With 10 years-experience in the Justice Department, Choi previously served as Cybercrime Coordinator for the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. This role helped her prepare for her current position in that in it she “investigated and prosecuted cyber, complex fraud and money laundering crimes, with a particular focus on network intrusions, digital currency, the dark web and national security investigations,” according to the department.
In 2016, Choi represented the government during an appeal before the Second Circuit in the case against Ross Ulbricht, founder and admin of Silk Road, the original darknet market. In 2017, she led the prosecution against Coin.mx, which had been designated an “unlicensed virtual currency exchange,” helping to convict its founders of wire and bank fraud.
The creation of the enforcement team was first announced in October of last year in response to the rash of ransomware cyberattacks. The primary goal of the NCET as described by the Justice Department is “to deter, disrupt, investigate, and prosecute criminal misuse of cryptocurrency,” while attempting to recover stolen or illicit crypto funds as well.
“Because cryptocurrency is used in a wide variety of criminal activities, from being the primary demand mechanism for ransomware payments, to money laundering and the operation of illegal or unregistered money services businesses, to being the preferred means of exchange of value on ‘dark markets’ for illegal drugs, weapons, malware and other hacking tools, the NCET will foster the development of expertise in cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies across all aspects of the Department’s work.” – US Dept. of Justice, describing the role of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
Other duties to be conducted by the team include developing strategies for the prosecution of cryptocurrency-related crime, identifying areas of the internet warranting additional focus by prosecutors, and collaborating with crypto experts in the private sector to further prosecutorial efforts.