Obama Sets Up Financial Fraud Task Force

SEC, Treasury, and HUD part of steering committee

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President Barack Obama established November 17 by Executive Order an interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to strengthen efforts to combat financial crime. The Department of Justice will lead the task force and the Department of Treasury, HUD, and the Securities and Exchange Commission will serve on the steering committee.

The task force replaces the Corporate Fraud Task Force established in 2002, according to the Treasury Department release announcing the task force, "and will build upon efforts already under way to combat mortgage, securities and corporate fraud by increasing coordination and fully utilizing the resources and expertise of the government's law enforcement and regulatory apparatus." Treasury says the attorney general will convene the first meeting of the Task Force within the next 30 days.

According to the release announcing the new task force, "the task force's leadership, along with representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities and inspectors general, will work with state and local partners to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, address discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims."

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said in the release that "Many financial frauds are complicated puzzles that require painstaking efforts to piece together. By formally coordinating our efforts, we will be better able to identify the pieces, assemble the puzzle and put an end to the fraud."

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