Even if life for Wall Street firms gets easier with the Republican takeover of the House, they shouldn’t expect any letup from New York’s new top prosecutor, reports the Wall Street Journal. Eric Schneiderman, the Democrat elected as New York attorney general, said yesterday he was developing plans to investigate the debt and mortgage markets that target consumers. “Cracking down on bad apples is good for the market and the people on Wall Street who play by the rules,” he said.
The six-term New York state senator from Manhattan’s Upper West Side built his campaign for attorney general partly on a promise to continue in the footsteps of predecessors Andrew Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer, who aggressively prosecuted corruption on Wall Street. Schneiderman described the job as being the “sheriff” of Wall Street, and he is close to Cuomo, who was elected New York’s governor. While federal prosecutors spend years building cases, the New York Attorney General is known for responding quickly and loudly. Unlike other state attorneys general, New York’s can pursue both criminal and civil penalties with nationwide reach. The state law defines securities fraud broadly and doesn’t require prosecutors to prove intent.