Lisa Monaco Discusses FBI’s Plans to Hunt Down Crypto Fraudsters

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says that a new division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been formed to crack down on cyber fraud and tackle bad actors in the crypto space.

Lisa Monaco Says Crypto Security in the U.S. Is a Big Deal

The United States as of late appears to be putting the crypto industry at the forefront of its priorities list, though this hasn’t always been a good thing. The recent infrastructure bill passed last summer, for example, gave the appearance of something that would potentially see billions of dollars go towards rebuilding our schools, roads, hospitals, and other establishments.

In truth, the bill was a wolf in sheep’s clothing with hidden verbiage aimed at crypto investors. Beginning in 2024, agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are alleged to come down harder on digital currency investors, while transactions above $10K must be reported.

In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now looking to implement new regulations that, if passed, would allow it to spy on digital currency exchanges, defi platforms, and their users. If anything, the U.S. seems hellbent on removing the privacy measures that the digital currency space has worked so hard to instill.

At the same time, one cannot deny how many problems the industry has attracted. There is indeed a heavy amount of crime occurring in the world of digital currencies, with blockchain analysis company Chainalysis recently issuing a report talking about how crypto theft has increased tenfold in just the last 12 months alone.

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Monaco says that the new division will consist of several crypto and blockchain experts, all of whom will devote their energy, time, and expertise to shuttering illegal crypto use in the U.S. and abroad. Heading the division – known as the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit – will be Eun Young Choi, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan that helped sentence a Russian to 12 years in prison in 2021 for his role in a hacking campaign that targeted institutions like JPMorgan Chase.

In a statement, Monaco explained:

What this last year tells us is that the cyber threats of today demand that we stay nimble and creative to counter the threats of tomorrow.

Was the Couple Involved?

All this news comes on the heels of a recent story that saw a potential end to a 2016 crypto hack that targeted popular exchange Bitfinex. Billions of dollars in crypto funds were allegedly stolen, and now the Justice Department has narrowed in on a couple – Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan – that was arrested last week for their involvement in laundering the stolen funds.

The couple face trial in New York, though at press time, it appears Morgan is permitted to wait at home after paying $3 million in bail charges, while her husband has been ordered to remain in prison.

Tags: crypto, FBI, Lisa Monaco

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