As co-chairman of a new mortgage investigation unit announced last night by President Barack Obama, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will work with federal agencies and state attorneys general to investigate parties that contributed to the global financial crisis by pooling and selling residential mortgage-backed securities. The Unit on Mortgage Origination and Securitization Abuses will be run through the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
This is Schneiderman’s statement on the appointment:
“I would like to thank President Obama for his leadership in the creation of a coordinated investigation that marshals state and federal resources to bring justice for the victims of the misconduct that caused the mortgage crisis.
“In coordination with our federal partners, our office will continue its steadfast commitment to holding those responsible for the economic crisis accountable, providing meaningful relief for homeowners commensurate with the scale of the misconduct, and getting our economy moving again.
“The American people deserve a robust and comprehensive investigation into the global financial meltdown to ensure nothing like it ever happens again, and today’s announcement is a major step in the right direction.”
Schneiderman, who is serving his first term as attorney general, will co-chair the unit along with top officials at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the IRS. Among them are Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami; and U.S. Attorney John Walsh, District of Colorado.
The new unit is charged with determining which institutions violated the law, compensating victims of the wrongdoing and helping provide relief to homeowners who are struggling as a result of the housing market collapse. It will work with state and federal law-enforcement agencies that are investigating and prosecuting financial fraud. The law-enforcement agencies are working with some of the largest banks in this country on a possible settlement over their misconduct.
Schneiderman played a role nationally on these issues by speaking out against a settlement with top banks in connection with the role they played in the mortgage meltdown. Other attorneys general joined him in opposing the deal, and it fell apart.
In a statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka praised Obama for setting up the unit and appointing Schneiderman:
“Recognizing the need for accountability the President powerfully insisted on a more humble Wall Street subject to a thorough investigation of the misconduct in the mortgage markets that wrecked our economy by the full range of federal and state civil and criminal authorities. We applaud the creation of a new mortgage crisis unit to be co-chaired by New York’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman.”