Monday, April 25, 2011
AG Holder spoke about the DOJ's Priorities and Mission (see here) He listed four essential priorities:
"In the critical days ahead, these four essential priorities – protecting Americans from national security threats, protecting Americans from violent crime, protecting Americans from financial fraud, and protecting the most vulnerable members of our society – will guide our work."
Specifically when speaking to financial fraud, he stated:
"Third: we will protect Americans from the financial fraud that devastates consumers, siphons taxpayer dollars, weakens our markets, and impedes our ongoing economic recovery. As we’ve seen, the impact of financial crime is not confined to Wall Street – and many times the victims of fraud have worked hard and played by established investment rules, only to see their retirement and life savings vanish at hands of white-collar criminals.
"Over the last two years, through reinforced interagency partnerships and new joint initiatives – such as the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team – we have transformed the way we deal with fraud crimes. Not only have we secured record recoveries totaling billions of dollars, we have raised awareness about these crimes and improved the ability of consumers and victims to report suspected fraud schemes. In the coming months, we must take all of these efforts to the next level.
"We will vigorously investigate financial crimes and ensure that those who commit them are made to pay the price – by serving long sentences and making restitution to taxpayers, as well as victims. To identify the most effective ways to prevent and combat financial fraud, senior Department leaders will continue to meet with victims, medical providers, business leaders, and key government and law enforcement partners around the country. We will also work to bring our HEAT task forces to new problem areas, and to expand other successful programs that will allow us to maximize both our efficiency and our impact."
But it was particularly good to hear that he recognized the importance of using "smart of crime" approaches as opposed to prosecuting haphazardly. He stated: "We also will invest in scientific research to make certain that this Department is both tough and smart on crime, and that our decisions are economically sound. This means working closely with state, local, and tribal partners. It also means broadening our support for effective crime prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry strategies."
Thank you, AG Holder.