The Silk Road case will make headlines again this week with Ross Ulbricht’s sentencing. One of the players in the still unfolding saga is Assistant US Attorney Kathryn Haun, who heads digital currency initiatives at the US Department of Justice. Haun will speak on the blockchain and transparency at Consensus 2015.
With Ross Ulbricht’s sentencing due Friday, the Silk Road story is a hot topic once again. But even when Ulbricht’s sentencing is complete, the saga looks to be far from over. One of the stranger twists in an already convoluted tale is the case against two former Drug Enforcement Administration and Secret Service agents.
The agents, Carl Mark Force IV of the DEA and Shaun Bridges of the Secret Service, are being charged with wire fraud, money laundering and other offences for making off with more than $800,000-worth of stolen bitcoin during their investigation of Silk Road.
The lead prosecutor on the case is Assistant US Attorney Kathryn Haun, of the Northern District of California. According to the complaint, Haun’s team made extensive use of blockchain analysis to link the illicit bitcoin flows to the accused former agents.
Haun’s experience isn’t limited to the bitcoin blockchain, either. She also led the prosecution against Ripple Labs, which ended in a settlement and a $700,000 fine for the firm.
Haun was recently appointed the Digital Currency Crimes Coordinator at the US Department of Justice and leads a new multi-agency task force charged with looking into digital currencies that includes the FBI, Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Homeland Security, based in San Francisco. Additionally, she will teach a course called Digital Currency and Cybercrime at Stanford next year.
Before focusing on digital currencies, Haun was a counsellor to Attorney General Michael Muksaey and was counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
Haun will discuss data from her cases on a panel that will include Martine Niejadlik, the former chief compliance officer at Coinbase.
Corporate compliance perspective
Niejadlik headed Coinbase’s compliance efforts during a period of unprecedented growth for the company, as it started operations in Europe and opened a US-based exchange. She helped the company navigate a constantly evolving legal and regulatory landscape from November 2013.
Previously, Niejadlik ran risk and compliance management teams for Boku, PayPal, eBay and Amazon. She was a founding member of the Merchant Risk Council and a lead developer of the FICO score, the de facto gauge of credit risk in the US.
At Consensus 2015, Niejadlik will discuss case studies from her experience running risk and compliance teams for 20 years, with a particular focus on her time grappling with digital currency issues at Coinbase.
Department of Justice image via Shutterstock.