FinCEN Appoints “First-Ever Chief Digital Currency Advisor”

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Today, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a press release, announcing leadership additions to FinCEN.   This post merely repeats that press release, without further comment or analysis — other than to make the obvious observation that we wish both of these new appointees well, and that the appointment of Ms. Korver in particular confirms that FinCEN and other regulators are (i) taking digital assets and their regulation very seriously; and (ii) implicitly acknowledging that digital assets are a fact of life now for the U.S. and global financial system.  Given the many demands placed upon FinCEN by the AML Act and other developments, this announcement presumably will not be the last regarding important staffing changes for FinCEN.

Michele Korver serves as Chief Digital Currency Advisor to the Director of FinCEN.  In that role, Ms. Korver will advance FinCEN’s leadership role in the digital currency space by working across internal and external partners toward strategic and innovative solutions to prevent and mitigate illicit financial practices and exploitation.  Ms. Korver most recently served as Digital Currency Counsel for the United States Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, where she advised government attorneys and federal agents nationwide on digital currency matters to assist charging decisions and other prosecutorial strategies.  In that role, she also served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Stability Oversight Council and the U.S. delegation to the Financial Action Task Force, and developed cryptocurrency seizure and forfeiture policy and legislation.  Prior to that, Ms. Korver spent more than 10 years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office in Denver, Colorado, where she served as a Cybercrime and National Security prosecutor investigating and prosecuting money laundering and darknet drug trafficking cases involving international criminal organizations.  Previously, she served as an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force prosecutor focused on federal offenses involving complex controlled substance matters, money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act violations, and asset forfeiture.  Ms. Korver began her career in the United State Secret Service, serving as a Special Agent in Miami, Florida, before clerking for the Honorable Judge William P. Dimitrouleas in the Southern District of Florida.  Ms. Korver is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law and the University of Florida.

Jayna Desai serves as Director of the Office of Strategic Communications within FinCEN’s Office of the Director.  In that capacity, Ms. Desai will formulate FinCEN’s internal and external communications, and oversee media engagement on behalf of the bureau.  Ms. Desai most recently served as Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) Office of Operations Support, where she oversaw all communications, including social and digital media, and developed and delivered legislative engagement.  Previously, Ms. Desai served as CBP’s Office of Operations Support’s Director of Communications; as CBP’s Chief Speechwriter and Senior Public Affairs Advisor; and as a writer and editor for CBP’s Department of Field Operations.  Prior to CBP, Ms. Desai worked as an analytical consultant for the World Bank after starting at the Associated Press.  Ms. Desai is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Houston Baptist University.

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