Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Charles Grassley of Iowa have introduced legislation that would authorize millions of dollars in spending to combat corporate fraud. The 2009 Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act would provide funding for more fraud investigators and prosecutors in the Justice Department’s civil, criminal and tax divisions, U.S. attorneys offices, the FBI, the inspector general’s office of the Housing and Urban Development Department, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The bill would expand coverage of the federal False Claims Act to include any fraudulent claim for government property or money, regardless of whether the claim was made to a government employee or official, or the government took actual custody of the money or property, or the defendant meant to swindle the government. The increased funding will allow prosecutors to target corporations that participated in real estate and securities schemes and that defrauded homeowners and mortgage lenders. In addition, the bill would give prosecutors the resources necessary to investigate the fraud and waste that will inevitably accompany programs initiated as part of the recent $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.
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