Combating Financial Fraud

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) formed a partnership in July 2009 with several federal departments and agencies, led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), to address the growing issues surrounding mortgage fraud. Christened the State-Federal Task Force on Mortgage Enforcement, the NAAG effort was led by Co-Chairs Attorneys General Rob McKenna (Wash.) and Tom Miller (Iowa) who were joined by 20 other Attorneys General. The Task Force was divided into four distinct working groups Data Sharing, Criminal Enforcement, Civil Enforcement, and Civil Rights Enforcement. Each of these working groups was populated by both Attorneys General and various federal representatives. Each working group met periodically to discuss and coordinate their efforts aimed at combating mortgage-related criminal activity.

Owing to the on-going success of the Task Force, President Obama signed an Executive Order on Nov. 17, 2009 formally creating the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) and appointed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder the chair. The Executive Order designated seven federal departments and 20 federal agencies as FFETF members and specifically directed the chair to include NAAG and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) in the effort. The FFETF work was divided between five working groups Mortgage Fraud, Securities Fraud, Recovery Act Fraud, Rescue Fraud, and Non-Discrimination. NAAG was invited to participate in two of those working groups. Attorneys General McKenna, Miller, and John Suthers (Colo.) were appointed co-chairs of the Mortgage Fraud and Recovery Act Fraud working groups. Attorney General Roy Cooper (N.C.) is also co-chair of the Recovery Act Fraud Working Group; Attorney General Chris Koster (Mo.) is also co-chair of the Mortgage Fraud Working Group. Both working groups are active in developing enforcement strategies and coordinating enforcement actions between federal and state offices.

Although the work of the FFETF and the various working groups parallels the efforts of the State-Federal State Task Force on Mortgage Enforcement, the FFETF will not replace that earlier, precedent-setting model. Work continues in both venues and the consumers of all jurisdictions will be well-served through those efforts.

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