Last Thursday, January 22, U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) introduced a bill that would add $110 million to the budgets of the Department of the Justice, the FBI and the SEC to help the agencies fight white-collar crime. Introduced just weeks after the revelations concerning Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion fraud, the Supplemental Anti-Fraud Enforcement (“SAFE”) Markets Act would provide $80 million to the FBI to hire 500 new agents, $20 million to the SEC to hire 100 new enforcement officials and $10 million to the Department of Justice to hire 50 new assistant U.S. attorneys. All of the new hires would be focused on the investigation and prosecution of white-collar crime.
The senators noted that anti-fraud units at the agencies had become understaffed and underfunded during the Bush administration, as counter-terrorism efforts eclipsed white-collar criminal enforcement. While Congress has yet to debate or pass the legislation, the SAFE Act signals a renewed bi-partisan effort to enforce federal securities and anti-fraud laws. McGuireWoods has extensive experience defending companies and individuals under investigation for violations of securities and anti-fraud laws. If you have questions, please contact one of the attorneys listed below.