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Trump Creates Task Force to Police Elder, Cyber Frauds

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued an executive order establishing a Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud.

In issuing the order, Trump stated that the task force will help “strengthen the efforts of the Department of Justice and federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes of fraud committed against the U.S. government or the American people, recover the proceeds of such crimes, and ensure just and effective punishment of those who perpetrate crimes of fraud.”

The executive order requires the attorney general to set up a Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud within the Department of Justice.

The task force will also be charged with collaborating with financial regulators and other agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.

Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio said during a Wednesday media briefing at DOJ that the Trump administration task force will build on the task force set up “in the wake of the financial crisis” under the Obama administration, “which is now a decade passed and [which] focused on specific financial crimes and frauds.”

The new task force, Panuccio said, will continue that work but “is a broader effort looking at other areas of consumer fraud and market integrity, such as elder fraud and the growing problem of cybercrime.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated at the briefing that the task force would zero in on cases that involve fraud against the government, the financial markets and consumers — procurement and grant fraud, as well as securities and commodities, digital currency, money laundering, health care and tax frauds.

One of the task force’s first priorities, Rosenstein said, “will be to survey all of our members and identify areas of vulnerability to ensure that we devote appropriate resources to address them. Our goal is not to prosecute fraud, our goal is to deter fraud. That’s going to be our primary objective.”

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the CFPB, stated that “being a member of this task force will give the bureau a chance to prove a lot of what you’ve heard about us since I took over management of the bureau is not accurate.”

The bureau “absolutely intend[s] to continue to protect consumers. It’s what … Dodd-Frank requires us to do, mandates that we do it, and we will continue to do it … we’ve been doing it.”

“Fraud is against the law. It already is,” Mulvaney added. “We don’t need agencies like the bureau to make new law. What we need them to do is enforce laws that exist and that’s exactly what we intend to do as part of this task force.”

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton noted during the briefing the agency’s creation of its retail strategy and cyber task forces, stating that during his little more than a year at the commission, the agency has issued “over 20 temporary restraining orders and about 30 asset freezes” related to fraud.

Cyber threats, he continued, “present some of the greatest risks confronting today’s financial markets,” with bad actors using “new technology to perpetrate old frauds, including securities offering frauds.”

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