Largely aimed at protecting consumers and to combat an estimated $100 billion annual financial fraud dilemma, a House financial services anti-fraud subcommittee has voted to create a computer network that would link existing databases of U.S. state and federal financial service regulators. As part of the Financial Services Anti-Fraud Network Act now before Congress, the proposal would link databases to enable more than 200 independent state and federal agencies-specifically banking, securities and insurance regulators-to better exchange disciplinary and enforcement data. The objective would then be to make it harder for perpetrators of fraud-particularly financial services professionals-who are barred from one industry to resurface easily in another. The bill would link existing anti-fraud records via a network that may be as simple as a computer search engine, and pool information to curtail fraud at its inception. According to the proposal, the anti-fraud subcommittee would oversee the network, but the bill does not specify what technology costs the regulatory bodies would bear to participate.

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