On Wednesday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to establish the Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud. The task force, to be housed within the Department of Justice (DOJ), will "investigate and prosecute crimes of fraud committed against the U.S. Government or the American people, recover the proceeds of such crimes, and ensure just and effective punishment of those who perpetrate crimes of fraud."
The effort will focus on various fraud cases, including but not limited to those that relate to financial markets, consumers, and the government. The executive order specifically mentioned digital currency fraud and cyberfraud as areas of interest.
Through its investigative and prosecutorial efforts, the team will provide the attorney general with recommendations regarding fraud enforcement initiatives. The AG will, in turn, present those recommendations to the president, so he can attempt to improve cooperation among governmental agencies or pursue potential policy changes.
Members of the task force are to include various individuals from the DOJ and, periodically, other relevant parties, such as the chairs of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission.
According to an accompanying fact sheet, the Trump administration's DOJ has already cracked down on cyberfraud. The sheet states:
"In February 2018, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of 36 cyber criminals in the United States and 17 other countries in one of the largest cyber fraud enterprise prosecutions ever.
The indicted individuals led an international cyber fraud ring, responsible for over $530 million in losses to United States financial institutions, merchants, and consumers."
However, this news follows efforts by the Trump administration to overhaul the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which the executive order includes as a participating member. Although the task force may appear to be a good cause, the recent CFPB debate raises the question: Is there an ulterior political motive?
In any case, the executive order comes as no surprise, considering the US's recent history of cybercrime investigation and regulation. For example, on July 2, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation announced the formation of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, an international supergroup aimed at holding offshore tax criminals accountable for their actions.