Wednesday, November 18, 2009


By Executive Order dated November 17, 2009, President Obama established a new interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (“Task Force”). The Task Force, led by the Department of Justice and chaired by Attorney General Eric Holder, will work with state and local law enforcement agencies to strengthen efforts to “investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes and other violations relating to the current financial crisis and economic recovery efforts, recover the proceeds of such crimes and violations, and ensure just and effective punishment of those who perpetrate financial crimes and violations.”

In particular, the Task Force will serve the following functions:

(1) Provide advice to the Attorney General for the investigation and prosecution of financial fraud and other financial crimes and violations;

(2) Make recommendations to the Attorney General for action to enhance cooperation among all levels of government responsible for the investigation and prosecution of significant financial crimes and violations; and

(3) Coordinate law enforcements operations with representatives of State, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement.

Robert S. Khuzami, Director of the Division of Enforcement for the SEC, acknowledged that the Task Force will help the government “mount an even better-organized and more collaborative response to the pain and losses caused by the financial crisis.” He also noted that “[t]he creation of the Task Force occurs at a time that we at the SEC have taken a series of steps to optimize our effectiveness. These will make us an even more effective partner to other Task Force members.

The creation of the Task Force is yet another example of the combined efforts by federal, state and local agencies to aggressively combat financial fraud and other wrongdoings, and to provide investors and the public with a more stable financial system to help prevent another financial meltdown.

In accordance with the terms of Obama’s Executive Order, the Attorney General will convene the first meeting of the Task Force within the next 30 days. A copy of the Order can be found here.

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