Who Investigates Crypto Crime?

January 22nd, 2023

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How Governments are Responding to the Rise of Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency has risen with the rise of digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin; however, along with its meteoric rise comes increased concerns over security in a largely unregulated market. Despite substantial efforts to ensure investor safety, scams and criminal activities are becoming increasingly common within the crypto space. It's no surprise that police forces worldwide have worked hard to respond in kind by forming teams dedicated to investigating any potential violations related to cryptocurrency. So who investigates crypto crime? Read on to learn more about this emerging field of law enforcement and how it is already impacting the industry.

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the most well-known agency investigating crypto crimes, has taken decisive action to combat cryptocurrency-related crime with the launch of its National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). This specialized unit brings together experts from a multitude of divisions within the FBI and Department Of Justice, such as the Money Laundering And Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section(CCIPS), plus U.S Attorney's Offices - all united in their mission to target crypto crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing/tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.

With a mission to identify and bring justice for those utilizing cryptocurrencies unlawfully, the DOJ's NCET is determined to build expertise in blockchain technology by effectively tackling illegal activity. The team works with other law enforcement agencies struggling against sophisticated criminal operations involving cryptocurrency and is committed to recovering any illicit funds or proceeds derived from them.

Market Integrity and Major Frauds Unit

The U.S. Department of Justice's Market Integrity and Major Frauds Unit serves as a specialized crime-fighting force against sophisticated financial fraud, market manipulation, securities schemes, commodity trading abuses - even cryptocurrency heists! With its hands on the wheel alongside other federal agencies like the SEC and CFTC in combating consumer fraud to government procurement scams, they are ensuring that justice is served throughout all aspects of this industry so we can have faith our finances will be safe from harm.

The MIMF Unit is recognized as a global leader in combating cryptocurrency fraud. Since its founding, the unit has worked to bring justice for scammed investors who have suffered intended financial losses of over $2 billion worldwide. Combining advanced blockchain analysis with classic law enforcement techniques, the Fraud Section utilizes investigative strategies that target complex investment schemes involving digital currencies and prevent market manipulation from unregistered exchanges or insider trading operations affecting crypto markets. As part of their mission not only to pursue legal action but also to shape Department policy and initiatives, they collaborate closely with state authorities on crime prevention methods and public education programs related to cryptocurrencies.

United States Secret Service

Since its founding, the United States Secret Service (USSS) has been integral to protecting our nation's financial system. As digital asset use increases and evolves, so does their role in finessing criminal activity, from counterfeiting to credit card schemes and illegal wire transfers – as well as more recent phenomena such as ransomware attacks facilitated by cryptocurrencies. The USSS is committed to keeping pace with emerging threats related to these systems while maintaining vigilance over existing ones - proactively detecting, investigating, and apprehending illicit actors who seek unlawful gain through breaking economic laws.

A significant portion of USSS resources is devoted to protecting our nation against illicit activities connected with digital assets. They actively employ various strategies, including law enforcement action and collaborations with multiple government departments. As decentralized financial ecosystems become increasingly common, the agency remains vigilant in tackling associated risks such as those posed by peer-to-peer payments and obscured blockchain ledgers.

Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service is taking a proactive stance on cyber-related investigations, setting up the Office of Cyber & Forensic Services to identify and combat digital asset misuse. This specialized division will be devoted to uncovering illicit contacts involving cryptocurrencies or taking advantage of the U.S.'s financial systems with an international focus as they deploy dedicated agents worldwide. With these increased resources at their disposal, it's expected there will be more public announcements soon regarding developments within this effort to crack down on crypto fraudsters around the globe. To support this effort, the CI has dispatched specialized agents to eleven countries worldwide, from Mexico and Canada near home across Europe, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. These attachés collaborate with foreign governments to ensure that everyone plays by fair financial rules – a victory for justice everywhere.

Cryptocurrency has revolutionized our financial world, but its anonymity and decentralized nature have created a space for criminal activity. In response, global law enforcement organizations are creating specialized units to combat the rise in cybercrime associated with digital currencies, from money laundering and hacking to frauds of all sizes. The forerunners waging this war include four major agencies: Market Integrity & Major Fraud Unit (MIMFU), National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), United States Secret Service (USSS), and Internal Revenue Services – each bringing their expertise as they work together to investigate these complex cases.

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