JUSTICE

Financial Fraud in the Crosshairs

You're an attorney general looking to win over the public en route to higher ambitions. Who do you target? Why greedy executives, of course! According to the New York Times, populist outrage against financial institutions is expected to create a surge of prosecutions against banks and mortgage officers who bent the rules along the way to the economic collapse. At the top of the legal totem pole, the Obama administration has remained mostly silent on its plans to go after financial fraud, the new budget contains more FBI money to investigate white collar crime and a 13 percent raise for the SEC, hinting that a major effort to target such cases was in the works. "It will be a top priority of the Justice Department to hold accountable executives who have engaged in fraudulent activities," a DOJ spokesman told the Times. Plenty of state prosecutors are already taking on mortgage fraud and lawmakers like Rep. Barney Frank are pressuring the SEC to take a more aggressive approach in handling white collar crime.