Financial Fraud Crackdown

The Senate on Monday neared passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act. "As a result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior of a handful of executives on Wall Street, we are suffering through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," said Senator Bernie Sanders. "Millions of people have lost their homes, their jobs, their life savings, their ability to send their kids to college...It is critical that we provide...the tools and resources needed to hold those responsi

The Senate on Monday neared passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act. "As a result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior of a handful of executives on Wall Street, we are suffering through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," said Senator Bernie Sanders. "Millions of people have lost their homes, their jobs, their life savings, their ability to send their kids to college…It is critical that we provide…the tools and resources needed to hold those responsible for the financial crisis accountable and throw those that engaged in fraud in jail where they belong."

Under President Bush, the federal government basically turned a blind eye to white collar crime. After September 11th, about 100 FBI white collar fraud investigators had their job responsibilities shifted to focus on terrorism. They were never replaced. As a result, literally thousands of allegations of financial and mortgage fraud are going unexamined.

The bill by Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will provide the resources necessary for the FBI to hire 160 additional special agents and more than 200 professional staff and forensic analysts dedicated to investigating white collar crimes.

This bill also authorizes the Justice Department to add up to 200 prosecutors and civil enforcement attorneys nationwide, as well as 100 support staff to focus on fighting fraud.

In addition, the bill provides the resources for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service and the inspector general at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to hire more than 200 additional fraud agents, analysts and investigators to combat fraud.

Finally, the legislation makes it easier for federal prosecutors to throw those who have committed mortgage fraud in jail for their crimes.

This bill is an excellent start, but we have got to do more.

"We have a responsibility to explain to the American people how this financial crisis happened, how did we get here, and what we can do to make sure that this never happens again," Sanders said. "Most importantly, we need to find out exactly which individuals caused this unprecedented crisis and we need to hold them accountable.