These Are The 5 Lawyers Tasked With Making Wall Street Pay For The Mortgage Crisis

5 mortgage fraud unit schneiderman

The lack of criminal prosecution for what may have caused the financial crisis has been a source of constant frustration for many who have suffered as a result.

But that may change soon. Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced during his State of the Union address that he will be creating a special unit to investigate any illegal activities that may have ultimately contributed to the collapse of the mortgage market and caused the 2008 financial crisis.

There have been a plethora of lawsuits brought lately, by individuals and states against banks, alleging that big banks misled investors about the quality of mortgage-backed securities, so the officials that Obama appointed will have a big task on their hands.

The five attorneys who have been tasked with this duty have a range of experience in litigation and come from all over America.

Eric Schneiderman, attorney general for New York

Work history: Schneiderman worked as a public interest lawyer, and was a member of the New York State Senate for over 10 years. He was elected New York AG in 2010.

Street cred: As AG he's won multi-million dollar lawsuits against abuses by drug companies. As for Wall Street, Schneiderman has actively been saying banks should be held accountable for the financial crisis.

Source: BI

Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general at the DOJ's Criminal Division

Work history: Started career as a Manhattan district attorney prosecuting violent crimes, then did a stint in Clinton's White House as a special counsel to Clinton. He's also worked in private practice in white collar defence division. Breuer was confirmed to his position at the DOJ's Criminal Unit in 2009.

Street cred: Background in criminal law enforcement, also served as a special counsel to Clinton during his Senate impeachment trial. A fellow White House colleague, Sandy Berger, also asked Breuer for representation in 2008 when he was accused of theft.

Source: Washingtonian, DOJ

Robert Khuzami, director of enforcement at the SEC

Work history: Worked as a Manhattan district attorney focusing on white collar crime, then worked as an attorney for Deutsche Bank, rising to the position of General Counsel. He took the position at the SEC in 2009.

Street cred: Successfully prosecuted Patrick Bennett, who ran a pyramid scheme that cheated people out of $1 billion in the 1990s. He also prosecuted 'Blind Sheik' Omar Ahmed Ali Abdel Rahman for the 1993 World Trade centre bombing.

Source: SEC

John Walsh, U.S. Attorney for Colorado

Work history: Spent nearly a decade in the U.S. District Attorney's office of Los Angeles, where he focused on white-collar crime, then went into private practice. Walsh was confirmed as U.S. Attorney for Colorado in 2010.

Street cred: Headed office prosecuting major frauds in the U.S. District Attorney's office of Los Angeles in the '90s, helped in investigating Drexel Burnham Lambert's Michael Milken for securities fraud.

Source: Colorado U.S. Attorney

Tony West, assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Division

Work history: Worked as a public attorney for California where he prosecuted a range of crimes. Then spent a number of years in private practice until he was confirmed for the assistant attorney general position in 2009.

Street cred: Since he took the position of assistant attorney general in 2009, the office of Consumer Protection Litigation has prosecuted more than 90 people for defrauding customers of more than $3.3 billion combined. The DOJ's Civil Division has also secured more than $10 billion in fraud settlements since 2009.

Source: DOJ

And for a deeper dive into one of the chairs of this task force...

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