What Federal Agencies Criminally Investigate Cryptocurrency?

March 5, 2023

Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, have become increasingly popular in recent years, and with their growing use, the potential for criminal activity has also risen. As a result, several federal agencies have the authority to investigate crimes related to cryptocurrencies. These agencies are tasked with protecting the public and ensuring the integrity of the financial system by investigating and prosecuting individuals and organizations involved in illegal activities involving cryptocurrencies.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is one of the main federal agencies that investigate crimes related to cryptocurrencies. The FBI has the authority to investigate a wide range of federal crimes, including those related to cryptocurrency. The FBI’s Cyber Division and Criminal Investigative Division work together to investigate crimes involving cryptocurrency, such as fraud, money laundering, and cybercrime. The FBI also has the authority to seize and forfeit assets that are the proceeds of, or used to facilitate, crimes related to cryptocurrency.

Another federal agency with the authority to investigate crimes related to cryptocurrencies is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA is responsible for investigating drug-related crimes, and as such, has the authority to investigate crimes related to cryptocurrencies that are used to facilitate the illegal drug trade. For example, the DEA has the authority to investigate individuals or organizations that use cryptocurrencies to purchase or sell illegal drugs.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also has the authority to investigate crimes related to cryptocurrencies. The IRS is responsible for enforcing the tax laws of the United States and as such, has the authority to investigate individuals or organizations that fail to report income or pay taxes on their digital assets.

The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) is a team of federal law enforcement agencies that focuses on investigating and prosecuting crimes related to cryptocurrencies. The NCET is made up of representatives from several federal agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS).

The team was created to address the growing use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities, and aims to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations using virtual currency for illicit gain. The NCET also works with international partners to combat cross-border criminal activities related to cryptocurrency.

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