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DOJ to Create Crypto Enforcement Group to Fight Cybercrime, Money Laundering

The group will strengthen the DOJ’s ability to fight crimes that involve cryptocurrency, say officials.

2 min read
Department of Justice. Image: Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Justice today announced a new cryptocurrency enforcement team that will tackle financial crime. 

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco made the announcement at today's Aspen Cyber Summit. She said the group would "strengthen" the DOJ's capacity to disable financial markets that allow cybercriminals to "flourish."

She added that the DOJ would also launch an initiative to focus on civil cyber fraud.

"We are launching today the national cryptocurrency enforcement team," she said. "We have already made great strides in combating misuse of cryptocurrency platforms and we've shown—we won't hesitate to go after those platforms that help criminals launder or hide their criminal proceeds. It is a crowded and aggressive threat landscape."

Monaco said the team would include a mix of anti-money laundering and cybersecurity experts and would work to protect consumers from online financial crime. 

"Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future," she added. "We need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they use these systems."

Monaco said the civil cyber fraud initiative would pursue companies which receive federal funds if they didn’t follow recommended cybersecurity standards.

The DOJ is cracking down on cyber criminals—especially those who use cryptocurrency. Monaco referenced the government agency's latest success in convicting Larry Harmon, an Ohio man who spent years running a Bitcoin mixer—a tool that helps obfuscate the source of BTC funds.

Harmon in August pleaded guilty to money laundering charges via the service he ran, which scrambled the origins of crypto transactions so law enforcement couldn’t trace them. 

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