Klobuchar Says Greater Commitment Needed to Crackdown on Mortgage and Financial Fraud

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 at 5:23 am

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar pushed today for new tools to help law enforcement crackdown on financial crimes.  In an address on the floor of the Senate, Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act to give law enforcement greater resources to root out and prosecute financial crimes like mortgage fraud and ponzi schemes, which have recently caused devastating effects throughout our economy, leaving many homeowners and investors without their life savings.  Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of the bi-partisan measure, along with Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT), Charles Grassley (R-IA) and others.

“As a former prosecutor, I know how critical it is that our law enforcement agencies have the tools and resources they need to effectively fight, investigate and prosecute these financial crimes,” said Klobuchar, a former Hennepin County Attorney.  “If we’re going to get our economy back on track, we have to restore trust in our financial system – and that starts with stopping fraud and crime.”

In the past three years, the number of criminal mortgage fraud investigations opened by the FBI has doubled.  Within the past six years, there has been a tenfold increase in the number of reports filed with the Treasury Department alleging mortgage fraud.  The Treasury Department receives approximately 5,000 fraud allegations per month.

The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act authorizes $165 million a year for the Justice Department to hire fraud prosecutors and investigators, including funds for the FBI to bring on an additional 190 special agents and more than 200 professional staff and forensic analysts to rebuild its white-collar investigation program.  Additionally, the bill will provide resources for the FBI to double the number of mortgage fraud task forces nationwide that target fraud in the hardest hit areas of our country.

The bill also strengthens the whole network of agencies that are involved in prosecuting white-collar crimes.  It provides resources for additional staff at the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and includes more money for the Criminal, Civil and Tax Divisions at the Justice Department to provide special litigation and investigative support.

Senator Klobuchar successfully pushed for passage of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

(From Office of Amy Klobuchar)

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