Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski announced the restructuring of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit within the Fraud section of the Criminal Division. The unit will now be known as the Market Integrity and Major Frauds Unit. The October 8, 2019, announcement revealed five subsections that will sit within the newly constituted unit, each tied to a separate “mission” of the DOJ: 

  1. Securities Fraud
  2. Commodities Fraud
  3. Government Procurement Fraud
  4. Fraud on Financial Institutions
  5. Consumer Fraud, Regulatory Deceit, and Investor Schemes 

In establishing these units, the DOJ recognized that each type of fraud is investigated through different means and methods. For instance, “securities and commodities fraud often can be identified using data analytics, whereas procurement fraud typically is identified and investigated by our law enforcement partners in the inspector general community.” It was clear from the remarks that the reorganization will lead to a "mission-driven" focus on specific fraud prosecutions with what the DOJ believes are the necessary experts and tools. 

Notably, the Assistant Attorney General delivered a broader message during his remarks yesterday—that the division seeks to increase transparency between itself and “the bar [and] the corporate community ... about what is working, what is not, and what is fair, and what is not, in any individual case.” The division believes that articulating its particular goals and mission for this newly constituted unit is part of this commitment to transparency. We will continue to review whether these structural changes will lead to additional investigations, and ultimately, more prosecutions. 

Attorneys in Ballard Spahr’s White Collar Defense/ Internal Investigations Group conduct internal investigations and represent clients facing actual or threatened government enforcement.


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