Crimes with cryptocurrency are part of a special consumer protection entity within the US Department of Justice (DOJ), established by a recent executive order by President Donald Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said on Wednesday. Dubbed the Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud, it seeks to strengthen US government’s efforts to combat and prosecute crimes in several market areas like money laundering and tax fraud.
“We expect to focus on cases involving fraud against the government, the financial markets, and consumers; procurement and grant fraud; securities and commodities fraud; digital currency fraud; money laundering; health care fraud; tax fraud; and other financial crimes,“ Rosenstein said.
The Deputy General, who is the Chair of the task force, emphasized that the body aims to deter crimes rather than to only go after already done fraudulent schemes. DOJ will have particular attention to the protection of elderly people, service members, and veterans.
The task force should provide guidance to ongoing investigations, recommends new investor protection initiatives and legislation to the President.
Rosenstein revealed the new structure during a press-conference in Washington along with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Head Joseph Simons and Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Permanent members in the task force are the Associate Attorney General, who serves as Vice Chair, the FBI Director General and the heads of DOJ Criminal, Civil, Tax, and Antitrust Divisions. SEC, FTC and CFPB along with the Treasury Secretary, the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). In addition, more than two dozen governmental agencies will participate in specified actions and cases.
During the press-conference, Chairman Clayton spoke about the regulatory policy of SEC regarding cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) and emphasized on the importance of interagency cooperation like in the halted $600 million ArasiBank , when the Commission managed to secure the return of investor funds with the help from federal criminal authorities and other regulators.
“Punishing wrongdoing is important but it is no more important than getting victims their money back,” Clayton said.
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