President Obama creates new task force to crack down on financial fraud

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina 6 ways the primary fight is toughening up Democrats for the fall general election Bloomberg called Social Security a 'Ponzi scheme' as mayor MORE is creating an interagency task force to more seriously target financial fraud, Cabinet officials announced Tuesday.

Obama, traveling in China, signed an executive order that creates an interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, combining the efforts of the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Treasury Department, among others.

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Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderIf Roger Stone were a narco, he'd be in the clear Trump flexes pardon power with high-profile clemencies They forgot that under Trump, there are two sets of rules MORE and other Cabinet officials said the new task force would “investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, address discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims.”

Holder said the goal of the task force will be to prevent financial abuses like those that caused the global economic crisis of last year.

“This task force’s mission is not just to hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial meltdown, but to prevent another meltdown from happening,” Holder said.  “We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and will not hesitate to bring charges, where appropriate, for criminal misconduct on the part of businesses and business executives.”

The new task force replaces the Corporate Fraud Task Force, which was created in 2002 during former President George W. Bush's administration.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the establishment of the new task force is proof that the administration "is going to act aggressively and proactively in a coordinated effort to combat financial fraud."

“It’s not enough to prosecute fraud only after it’s become widespread," Geithner said. “We can’t wait for problems to peak before we respond.”

At least 25 federal government agencies and offices will take part in the task force, and the Justice Department said that the attorney general will also invite representatives from the National Association of Attorneys General, the National District Attorneys Association and other state, local, tribal and territorial representatives to be a part of the enforcement committee.