Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Public Law (05/20/2009)

Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 or FERA - (Sec. 2) Amends the federal criminal code to include within the definition of "financial institution" a mortgage lending business or any person or entity that makes, in whole or in part, a federally related mortgage loan. Defines "mortgage lending business" as an organization that finances or refinances any debt secured by an interest in real estate, including private mortgage companies and their subsidiaries, and whose activities affect interstate or foreign commerce.

Extends the prohibition against making false statements in a mortgage application to employees and agents of a mortgage lending business.

Applies the prohibition against defrauding the federal government to fraudulent activities involving the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) or a federal economic stimulus, recovery, or rescue plan.

Expands securities fraud provisions to cover fraud involving options and futures in commodities.

Expands the concept of monetary proceeds, for purposes of enforcing prohibitions against money laundering, to include gross receipts.

Expresses the sense of Congress with respect to the prosecution of money laundering crimes in combination with other closely-connected offenses. Requires the Attorney General to report to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on such prosecutions.

(Sec. 3) Authorizes appropriations to the Attorney General for FY2010-FY2011 for investigations, prosecutions, and civil and administrative proceedings involving federal assistance programs and financial institutions. Allocates such funds among various departments of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Requires that an appropriate percentage of such funds be used to investigate mortgage fraud.

Authorizes additional appropriations to the U.S. Postal Service, the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Secret Service, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the Office of Inspector General, in FY2010-FY2011 for similar investigations.

Requires the Attorney General, in consultation with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Inspector General for HUD, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the SEC Commissioner [sic], to submit a report to Congress identifying: (1) amounts spent for investigations, with a certification of compliance that funds have been spent in accordance with this Act; and (2) amounts recovered from criminal or civil restitution, fines, penalties, and other monetary recoveries.

(Sec. 4) Amends the False Claims Act to: (1) expand liability under such Act for making false or fraudulent claims to the federal government; and (2) apply liability under such Act for presenting a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval (currently limited to such a claim presented to an officer or employee of the federal government). Requires persons who violate such Act to reimburse the federal government for the costs of a civil action to recover penalties or damages.

Modifies and expands provisions of the False Claims Act relating to intervention by the federal government in civil actions for false claims, sharing of information by the Attorney General with a claimant, retaliatory relief, and service upon state or local authorities in sealed cases.

(Sec. 5) Establishes in the legislative branch the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to examine the causes of the current U.S. financial and economic crisis, taking into account fraud and abuse in the financial sector and other specified factors.

Requires the Commission to submit a final report on its findings to the President and Congress on December 15, 2010. Requires the Commission chairperson to appear before the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs within 120 days after the submission of such report. Terminates the Commission 60 days after the submission of such report.

Authorizes appropriations.