At a hearing on September 22, 2010, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized the pace at which financial fraud actions have been brought by the DOJ and the SEC since President Obama signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA) into law in May 2009. Drafted after the current financial crisis arose, FERA was designed to give the agencies larger anti-fraud staff and better resources, to toughen anti-fraud laws, and to expand the scope of criminal statutes among other provisions. Senator Ted Kaufman, chair of the Judiciary Committee, expressed his disappointment with the number of prosecutions brought by the agencies since FERA was enacted.
Officials from both agencies defended their practices. DOJ Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General, Lanny Breuer, Director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, Robert Khuzami, and FBI Assistant Director, Kevin Perkins, defended the agencies from the accusations that they had not acted quickly enough. Breuer pointed out that the DOJ had increased its focus on financial fraud and cited the 3,000 defendants who have been sentenced to prison between October 2009 and June 2010 as evidence of the DOJ's increased focus. Khuzami pointed to the SEC's 634 enforcement actions and the disgorgement of $1.53 billion in ill-gotten gains and civil penalties totaling nearly $1.0 billion since the beginning of fiscal 2010 as evidence of increased enforcement. All three agency representatives touted the use of wiretaps and whistleblowers as tools to fight financial fraud in the future. Article.