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Justice Department Appoints Chief Crypto Enforcement Officer

The Justice Department said on Thursday that Eun Young Choi, a career prosecutor known for prosecuting cybercriminals, will serve as the first director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team he established a few months ago. .

Ms. Choi, whose appointment is effective immediately, has served as lead counsel to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco since April, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Prior to that, Ms. Choi spent nine years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she served as an assistant U.S. attorney and cybercrime coordinator focusing on network intrusions, digital currencies, the so-called dark web and national- security surveys.

She served as lead prosecutor in a number of high-profile cases, including the hacking of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other financial institutions by a transnational organization and the operation of an unlicensed virtual currency exchange, Coin. mx, the Justice Department said.

Ms. Choi said in a statement that the Department of Justice “has been at the forefront of investigating and prosecuting crimes involving digital currencies since their inception,” adding, “The NCET will play a pivotal role in ensuring As the technology surrounding digital assets develops and evolves, the department in turn accelerates and expands its efforts to combat their illicit misuse by criminals of all kinds.

The NCET, overseen by Kenneth Polite, Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, will focus on crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges and mixing and tumbling services, and will help trace and recover the assets lost to fraud and extortion, according to the Justice Department. Department.

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“Eun Young is an accomplished leader on cyber and cryptocurrency issues, and I am pleased that she will continue her service as the inaugural director of NCET,” Polite said in a statement.

Edward Imperatore, a partner in investigations and white-collar defense practice at the law firm Morrison & Foerster LLC who worked alongside Ms Choi in the Southern District of New York, praised her extensive experience in prosecuting complex financial crimes.

Mr. Imperatore said Ms. Choi started as the cybercrime coordinator for the Southern District at a time when the bureau was under scrutiny for how it obtained and reviewed electronic evidence. While there, she helped standardize how the bureau used its investigative tools “and helped write the blueprint for effectively investigating cybercrime and obtaining electronic evidence,” Imperatore said. “She will also be very adept at standardizing how cryptocurrency is studied and pursued across the country.”

Additionally, she’ll likely focus on money tracking in her new role, Imperatore said, “which will be a priority for the Justice Department more broadly in conducting crypto investigations.”

Ms. Monaco announced in October the creation of the NCET to investigate and prosecute criminal abuses of cryptocurrency and to recover the illicit proceeds of these crimes.

The Justice Department also said Thursday that it is forming a dedicated unit within the Federal Bureau of Investigation for cases involving cryptocurrency. The FBI’s new Virtual Assets Operating Unit will work with the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.

Write to David Smagalla at [email protected]

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