After satisfying probable cause and burden of proof requirements, law enforcement can obtain seizure warrants for any illicit funds that end up landing on compliant exchanges – and many funds do. Law enforcement will then work with the crypto firm to move the funds to a government-controlled wallet or freeze them.
“Another method is for the adversary or a member of their conspiracy to cooperate and provide private keys to the government as part of a plea bargain or cooperation to benefit them in some way. another,” says Gurvais Grigg, who was deputy director of the FBI before becoming an executive at Chainalysis.
The third possibility is to compromise the security of the target, which can happen in many ways.
“When you’re talking about a country like North Korea or Russian cybercriminal organizations, it can take years to build networks of confidential informants and work with other governments, even those that aren’t always friendly to us. “, says Redbord. “One piece is potentially the hacking of a server or machine or, frankly more likely, just great police work.”
For pirates outside the United States, the task is more delicate. An arrest may be impossible if the suspect is in a country that is not cooperating with Washington, so prosecutors focus elsewhere.
“Good prosecutors understand that a criminal prosecution is only part of the larger investigation and leads to these types of cases,” says Redbord, who served as a prosecutor for 11 years. Instead, the focus is on the money.
The other aspects are regulation, politics and diplomacy. There are several notable “rogue zones” around the world that don’t follow international anti-money laundering rules, Grigg says, including North Korea and Iran, “but these parts of the world are becoming islands. smaller and smaller”. There are two reasons for this. If you are a business, compliance means you have a chance to access the richest markets in the world; if you are a nation, that means your own lawful orders can be honored in return.
What happens afterwards?
As governments improve surveillance and seizure of cryptocurrency, hackers and criminal tactics continue to evolve.