The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

SEC Adds More Personnel to its Cryptocurrency Fraud Fighting Cyber Unit, Nearly Doubling the Unit’s Staff

In recent years, we have seen the rise of new types of markets and investment opportunities, mainly through the creation and popularity of cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, this has also led to an abundance of fraudsters abusing these new markets to scam people. By offering unregistered crypto assets or tricking people out of their crypto investments, many bad actors have looked at this digital market as a playground for fraud. Because of this hike in fraudulent activities, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a considerable step forward in its attempt to protect crypto investors.

The SEC has a Cyber Unit, which has successfully investigated over 80 violations related to crypto assets, recovering more than $2 billion since 2017. The SEC has recently decided to allocate more staffing to the unit and rename it “Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit”. This change in personnel includes the addition of investigative staff, attorneys, fraud analysts, and others. Now, with a total of 50 members, they have more investigative powers to look into violations related to crypto assets, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, and more. This unit can also investigate and prosecute public companies for not following cybersecurity guidelines or for not disclosing cybersecurity risks to their clients.

These upgrades to the SEC’s Cyber Unit mirror the FBI’s announcement earlier this year that it will create a new unit dedicated to investigating cryptocurrency-related crimes. The DOJ is also developing a new division focused on cryptocurrency investigations. As fraudsters continue to take advantage of new markets, the federal government will match their efforts in order to bring them to justice.

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