Meet DOJ’s Crypto Czar—Michele Korver
Ever since taking the helm as the U.S. Department of Justice’s first Digital Currency Counsel in September of 2017, Michele R. Korver has been fielding questions regarding cryptocurrencies from U.S. Attorney’s Offices nationwide , developing policy on cryptocurrency prosecutions and forfeiture procedures, and coordinating cryptocurrency related multi-jurisdictional—international, national and state—money laundering investigations.
These money laundering cases go hand-in-hand with prosecutions involving the sale of controlled substances, as cryptocurrencies are believed to be the most oft-used means of payment around the world for illegal goods and services on encrypted dark websites which serve as an ever-growing shadow banking system for crypto criminals. Moreover, from her position at the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) in Washington D.C., Korver can tap into the deep bench of talent in this area at MLARS, other DOJ Criminal Division sections such as the Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), and a myriad of federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
Korver began working collaboratively with global law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, and private technology companies in multi-jurisdictional investigations to dismantle transnational criminal organizations in 2013, to counter cross-border threats posed by cryptocurrencies– including money laundering, terrorist financing, importation of illegal goods, fraud, and tax evasion. That same year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)–which collects and analyzes information about financial transactions in order to combat domestic and international money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes– imposed registration requirements on money services businesses (MSB) which transmit funds in virtual currencies; and in a first of its kind virtual currency case, the DOJ shut down the $6 billion Costa Rica-based virtual currency exchange Liberty Reserve and then shuttered the $1.2 billion drug trafficking dark-web market Silk Road for a host of federal criminal violations, including money laundering.
Using the long arm of U.S. law, Korver became a pioneer in prosecuting crypto-crime cases from the onset, all over the world.