FBI Establishes New Crypto Crimes Unit

The FBI has formed a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit to investigate cryptocurrency-related crimes.

FBI Establishes New Crypto Crimes Unit

Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit

The information was published as part of a press release announcing the appointment of the first director of the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), which was formed in October 2021. The NCET’s first director will be Eun Young Choi, who formerly served as Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General.

The FBI’s new Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit will be “a specialized team of cryptocurrency professionals devoted to providing research, assistance, and training throughout the FBI, as well as inventing its cryptocurrency technologies to stay ahead of future threats,” according to a Justice Department press release.

The NCET’s objective will be carried out throughout the Justice Department’s greater footprint, which includes the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and other federal agencies.

“”We’ve already made significant progress in combating the misuse of cryptocurrency platforms, and we’ve demonstrated that we won’t hesitate to go after platforms that help criminals launder or hide their criminal proceeds,” said US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco when NCET was formed in October. “The danger landscape is dense and aggressive.”

The revelations came after Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan was detained for alleged money laundering in connection with the theft of $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin from cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in 2016.

Morgan, a self-described rapper and Forbes writer, was released on bond on Tuesday, while Lictenstein is still being held in jail until his trial.