What better place to promote a new Justice Department task force against financial fraud than South Florida? Specifically, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gave his speech this afternoon at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, which staged a luncheon in his honor at the Kravis Center. In the speech, Holder mentioned Palm Beach County's Ponzi superstar, Bernard Madoff, as well as Broward's Scott Rothstein.
The feds have circulated Holder's prepared remarks. Let's skip to the part about this so-called Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, recently launched by executive order of the Obama administration and administered by the Justice Department. Said Holder:
At the core of the task force's mission is a more robust and strategic law enforcement effort. Through this effort,
critical information will be shared in real time across the federal government - and with our state and local law enforcement partners - so that we can stop fraud schemes in their tracks.That sounds swell, but unless the Justice Department starts shipping investigators and prosecutors, there's too much of all of the above down here.
We will focus on four key types of financial crime:
- Mortgage fraud -- from the simplest of "flip" schemes to systematic lending fraud in our nationwide housing market;
- Securities fraud - from traditional insider trading, to Ponzi schemes, to accounting fraud, to misrepresentations to investors;
- Recovery Act and rescue fraud - including the theft of federal stimulus funds and the illegal use of taxpayer dollars intended to shore up our financial institutions; and
- Financial discrimination - including predatory lending practices in minority communities and the sale of financial products that exploit the elderly and disadvantaged.