Top White-Collar Crime Prosecutor Getting SEC Job

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 25, 2013 | Go to article overview

Top White-Collar Crime Prosecutor Getting SEC Job


Byline: Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will nominate former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White, who built a reputation prosecuting white-collar crimes, to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, an agency that has a central role in implementing Wall Street reform.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama would announce White's nomination during a ceremony in the State Dining Room Thursday afternoon.

"She's got an incredibly impressive resume," Carney said. "The president is very pleased to be able to nominate her."

At the same event, Obama will renominate Richard Cordray to serve as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a White House official said. The president used a recess appointment last year to circumvent Congress and install Cordray as head of the bureau. That appointment expires at the end of this year.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the nomination before the president announces it.

White spent nearly a decade as the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, handling a wide array of white-collar crimes and complex securities and financial fraud cases. White House officials say that experience makes her well-positioned to implement Obama's Wall Street reform legislation.

While serving as U.S. attorney, White also won convictions related to the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

If confirmed by the Senate, White would take over the helm at the SEC from Elisse Walter, who is serving out the rest of former SEC chairwoman Mary Schapiro's term. Schapiro resigned in December.

In 2000, White led the criminal prosecution of more than 100 people -- including members of all five New York crime families -- accused of strong-arming brokers and manipulating prices of penny stocks. The action was called one of the biggest crackdowns on securities fraud in U.S. history.

White's office also won a record $606 million in restitution from the securities arm of the Republic New York Corp. bank in 2001. That year, the bank pleaded guilty to conspiring with an investment adviser to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from Japanese investors.

Cordray has run the consumer bureau since last year, when Obama used a recess appointment to install him in the job. Senate Republicans had opposed Cordray, as well as the concept of the consumer bureau.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., first conceived of the idea of a consumer protection bureau. Obama considered naming her to lead the bureau, but her nomination would likely have run into deep opposition on Capitol Hill.

White, 65, currently heads the litigation department at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. …

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