By Jeff Bliss
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Six more U.S. government agencies, including the Federal Reserve, will take part in a federal anti- fraud task force to strengthen its focus on uncovering mortgage and securities crimes.
Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip announced the expansion yesterday of the President's Corporate Fraud Task Force, which was formed in 2002. Joining the group are the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Inspector General for the financial industry rescue program approved last year by Congress.
"These new members reflect the breadth and depth of the mortgage crisis that we are now confronting and the urgency of the task before us," Filip said in a statement.
Current members of the task force include the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Gil Soffer, associate deputy attorney general, said the task force expansion would let FBI officials coordinate with monitors of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
"To be able to bring in our resources and to be able to tap into our expertise and to be able to work with our investigators and our prosecutors when there's criminal activity afoot, it's a tremendous boon" to TARP investigators, he said in an interview.
Congress passed the $700 billion TARP rescue package in October, and lawmakers have said oversight is needed to ensure the funds aren't misused.