Federal Prosecutors Stepping up Enforcement on Securities Fraud

Neil MacBride, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, announced today the creation of the Virginia Financial and Securities Fraud Task Force. Investigating and prosecuting securities fraud will be the task force's top priority, and it is targeting high-profile cases.

The new task force is being promoted as an "unprecedented partnership between criminal investigators and civil regulators to investigate and prosecute complex financial fraud cases in the nation and in Virginia." Mr. MacBride said that the coordinated effort "will allow us to share information, connect the dots, and pursue criminal as well as civil tracks."

The task force will bring together representatives of several federal agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Postal Service, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as state enforcement agencies. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia has also hired several new prosecutors to aid in the effort.

Traditionally, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, based in Manhattan, has been the venue for high-profile securities fraud actions because of its proximity to Wall Street. However, bringing such securities fraud cases in eastern Virginia offers some advantages.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is famed for its "rocket docket" - the court is one of the fastest in the nation at moving cases through the judicial process to completion. Another advantage: the jury pool in the district is typically seen as "pro-government" given the closeness to Washington, DC. The venue is also home to the SEC's EDGAR computer system, giving the Eastern District of Virginia jurisdiction over all publicly-traded companies. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is also based in the district, allowing for prosecution of the growing number of cases involving misuse of bank-bailout funds.


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