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Feds to track military scammers

By Marcie Geffner ·
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Posted: 10 am ET

Financial scammers who repeatedly victimize active-duty U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families are the target of a new database being developed by four government agencies.

The Repeat Offenders Against Military database, known as "ROAM," will track completed enforcement actions against companies and individuals who repeatedly scam military personnel, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, orCFPB.

The CFPB is involved in the effort with the U.S. Department of Defense, Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General.

Law enforcement officials, including state attorneys general, U.S. attorneys and judge advocates from all five branches of the armed forces, will be able to search the ROAM database for information about completed civil and criminal legal actions against perpetrators of financial scams against military personnel, veterans and their families, the CFPB said in a statement.

The database is expected to be operational by early February. Law enforcement officials will be able to contribute and request access to the data.

One goal is to stop scammers caught in one state from crossing state lines to perpetrate the same crime in another jurisdiction.

Holly Petraeus, assistant director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the CFPB, said in the statement she's heard stories of military members and veterans being defrauded by businesses that view troops as "easy targets for a quick profit."

"This database will help law enforcers stop some of the worst offenders, those that have made a practice of targeting our men and women in uniform and our veterans," she said.

Separately, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee held an oversight hearing Tuesday to examine how well the CFPB is fulfilling its mission.

In his prepared opening remarks, committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), welcomed CFPB Director Richard Cordray and pointedly reminded the other committee members the hearing wasn't intended to debate the director's appointment, but rather "provide meaningful oversight of the consumer bureau to make sure it's doing its job of protecting consumers and fostering an open and efficient consumer financial marketplace."

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