U.S. Government Creates New Financial Fraud Task Force

The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force is aimed at investigating and prosecuting mortgage, securities and corporate fraud, as well

On Nov. 17, the U.S. government announced the creation of a new interagency task force to crack down on financial fraud, saying its mission was to prevent "another meltdown."

President Barack Obama's new Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force replaces a corporate fraud task force established in 2002 following scandals at Enron and other major firms.

The task force led by the Justice and Treasury departments is aimed at investigating and prosecuting mortgage, securities and corporate fraud, as well as recovering funds for victims.

"This task force's mission is not just to hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial meltdown, but to prevent another meltdown from happening," Attorney General Eric Holder said in announcing the effort. "We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and will not hesitate to bring charges, where appropriate, for criminal misconduct on the part of businesses and business executives."

More than 20 federal agencies will be part of the task force, including the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission and the US Postal Inspection Service.

"Through the Financial Fraud Task Force, we are making clear that the Obama administration is going to act aggressively and proactively in a coordinated effort to combat financial fraud," said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. "It's not enough to prosecute fraud only after it has become widespread. We can't wait for problems to peak before we respond.

"We're seeking comprehensive financial reform to create a more stable, safer financial system and stepping up our enforcement strategy. Doing so will help to stop emerging trends in financial fraud before theyre able to cause extensive, system-wide damage to our economy."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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