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Leahy, Grassley Introduce Anti-Fraud Legislation before te US Senate

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced legislation the day before yesterday to provide the federal government with more tools to investigate and prosecute financial fraud. The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act makes necessary changes to federal criminal laws, including criminal fraud, securities law, and money laundering laws, increases the funding available to the federal law enforcement agencies to combat mortgage fraud and predatory lending, and also revises the False Claims Act to ensure that the government can recover taxpayer dollars lost to fraud and abuse.

The Leahy-Grassley bill will:

- Amend the definition of “financial institution” to extend federal fraud laws to mortgage lending business not directly regulated or insured by the Federal government
- Amend the major fraud statute to protect funds expended under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the economic stimulus package
- Authorize funding to hire fraud prosecutors and investigators at the Department of Justice, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies, and authorize funding for U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to help staff FBI mortgage fraud task forces.
- Amend the federal securities statute to cover fraud schemes involving commodities futures and options
- Amend the criminal money laundering statute to make clear that the proceeds of specified unlawful activity include the gross receipts of the illegal activity, and not just the profits of the activity
- Improve the False Claims Act to clarify that the Act was intended to extend to any false or fraudulent claim for government money or property, whether or not the claim is presented to a government official or employee, whether or not the government has physical custody of the money, and whether or not the defendant specifically intended to defraud the government.

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