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Outgoing AG Delaney pitches for financial fraud unit


CONCORD - Outgoing Attorney General Michael Delaney made a final push for establishing a financial fraud unit in his department before Senate budget writers Tuesday.

Delaney proposes a five-person office funded by the mortgage settlement money the state received in the national settlement with five major banks concerning foreclosures.

To date, Delaney has been stymied as the last legislature refused to adopt the program, although it did not spend state general fund money.

Delaney made his pitch to the Senate Finance Committee saying the settlement money would pay for the unit for three years, and after that it should be self-sustaining.

He noted the recent Ponzi scheme in Dover run by a long-time city developer, and said his department needs a certified public accountant and a financial investigator to deal with financial crimes.

He also asked the Senate to include $1 million more in his budget for the Attorney General's Drug Task Force. The Justice Department gives municipal police department grants and the departments send his office an officer to do undercover drug investigation in other areas of the state where he or she is not known, Delaney noted.

Without the program, drug investigations in rural areas of New Hampshire would cease to exist, Delaney explained.

The program was funded with 50 percent federal money secured with an earmark in the federal budget, he explained, but that ended two years ago when earmarks were outlawed.

Delaney also asked the Senate for $200,000 over the two-year biennium to fund the 10 child advocacy centers, one in each county. The centers do forensic interviews with children who have been sexually abused or witnessed a violent crime.

More than 2,000 children each year are interviewed, he noted, primarily for sexual assault.

And Delaney asked budget writers to consider adding $50,000 a year for a Manchester-based program to educate children about the influence of media on their lives.

The Senate Finance Committee is working on its version of the $11 billion state operating budget set to go into effect July 1 and hopes to complete committee work and have the budget before the Senate by the end of May or first of June.

grayno@unionleader.com



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