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299A.68 Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force.

Subdivision 1. Task force established. The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force is established to investigate major financial crimes. Local law enforcement agencies, federal law enforcement agencies, and state and federal prosecutor's offices may join the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, subject to the provisions of this section.

Subd. 2. Task force's duties. (a) The task force shall investigate consumer identity theft cases and reported financial crimes from individuals and businesses that are victims of such crimes.

(b) The task force shall focus on financial crimes including, but not limited to, statewide crimes such as: theft, fraud, and forgery crimes, including identity theft, check forgery, fraud in obtaining credit, financial transaction card fraud, theft from merchants, possession or sale of stolen or counterfeit checks, issuance of dishonored checks, creation or use of counterfeit state identification, obtaining counterfeit state identification, fraudulent Internet transactions, fraudulent merchandise returns, investment fraud, insurance fraud, vehicle insurance fraud, financial institution fraud, fraud related to state or federal programs, tax fraud, mail and wire fraud, and other related financial crimes.

(c) In particular, the task force shall investigate individuals and organizations, based on their criminal activity, that:

(1) commit multiple, cross-jurisdictional, financial crimes;

(2) employ computers and other sophisticated technology to counterfeit documents or commit fraud; or

(3) illegally obtain consumer information for identity theft.

Subd. 3. Role of participating agencies. (a) The agencies that participate in the statewide Financial Crimes Task Force shall oversee the task force's operation by establishing procedures and guidelines in an agreement. The agreement must be addressed in a memorandum of understanding and signed by the person in charge of each participating agency of government. The memorandum of understanding must address the following:

(1) the command structure of the task force;

(2) acquisition and liquidation of equipment, office space, and transportation;

(3) procedures for contracting for necessary administrative support;

(4) selection and assignment of members;

(5) transfer of task force members;

(6) resolution of disputes between participating agencies;

(7) requirements and procedures for all workers' compensation and other liability to remain the responsibility of each member's employing agency;

(8) disposition of assets and debts if the task force is disbanded; and

(9) all other issues deemed pertinent by the participating agencies.

(b) Federal law enforcement agencies participating in the task force must be signatories to the memorandum of understanding. Federal law enforcement agencies and officers participating in the task force may not participate in the selection of the statewide commander or receive any funding for agents' salaries, benefits, or overtime.

Subd. 4. Statewide commander. The participating local agencies shall select a commander to direct the task force. The commander shall make tactical decisions regarding the commencement, continuation, and conclusion of investigations of crimes in consultation with agencies participating in the task force. The commander shall also report annually to the commissioner of public safety as required in subdivision 10.

Subd. 5. Members; employment status. All law enforcement officers selected to join the task force must be licensed peace officers under section 626.84, subdivision 1, or qualified federal law enforcement officers as defined in section 626.8453. Members remain employees of the same entity that employed them before joining the task force. Compensation, personnel evaluations, grievances, merit increases, and liability insurance coverage, such as general, personal, vehicle, and professional liability insurance, must be covered by each member's employing agency. Members of the Financial Crimes Task Force are not employees of the state.

Subd. 6. Jurisdiction and powers. Law enforcement officers who are members of the task force have statewide jurisdiction to conduct criminal investigations into financial crimes as described in subdivision 2.

Officers assigned to the Financial Crimes Task Force shall follow their county arrest procedures, booking processes, reporting processes, county attorney charging requirements, and appropriate notification protocols to local and county sheriff agencies where arrests are made and search warrants executed. The commander of the task force is responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable local practices and procedures.

Subd. 6a. Regional offices. The commander, as funding permits, may establish seven regional offices of the task force to investigate financial crimes throughout the state and the regional areas. The regional offices must originally be established based on current state judicial districts, with one regional office covering the First, Second, Fourth, and Tenth Judicial Districts. The commander must establish a separate regional office in each of the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Judicial Districts. The regional offices must be composed of participating agencies from each of the designated geographic areas. In consultation with the commander, the participating agencies of each regional office must select a supervisor to direct the office. The regional office supervisors must report to the commander. If necessary, the advisory committee established in subdivision 8 may modify the geographic boundary of a regional office.

Subd. 7. Collaboration with other prosecutorial and law enforcement offices. To the greatest degree possible, the task force shall cooperate and collaborate with existing prosecutorial offices and law enforcement agencies.

Subd. 8. Budget; advisory committee; fund allocation and use. (a) The statewide commander shall establish an operational budget and present it to an advisory committee for approval. Grants awarded to participating local agencies must be approved by the advisory committee. The advisory committee must be composed of the statewide commander, a county attorney from the metro area, a county attorney from greater Minnesota, and the three chiefs of police or sheriffs from the local law enforcement agencies that have the longest continuous participation in the task force. The committee shall appoint a chair from among its members. The statewide commander must not be the chair of the committee. The committee may adopt procedures to govern its conduct if necessary. A committee member may appoint a designee to take the member's place. The advisory committee shall oversee and select a fiscal agent qualified to handle financial accounting of task force funding. The task force shall be assigned an originating reporting number for case tracking and reporting purposes.

(b) A participating local agency may seek a grant for reimbursement for the time and resources that a peace officer, investigator, detective, prosecutor, and administrative staff dedicate to the task force, or for any other task force-related purposes as described in paragraph (d). In order to receive a grant under this subdivision, a participating local agency must provide a 20 percent match in nonstate funds or in-kind contributions either directly from its budget or from businesses directly donating support. A participating employee shall remain an employee of the contributing agency.

(c) For purposes of this subdivision, an "in-kind contribution" means any asset contribution or personnel costs not funded by this section, including office supplies, furniture, office space, computers, software, equipment, surveillance tools, and personnel benefits. It also includes contributions from federal agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, individuals, or legal entities used for general operations support and not directed toward the case of a particular victim or business.

(d) Task force funds may be used for any task force-related purpose including salaries, overtime, administration, office costs, law enforcement equipment, computers, software, vehicle expenses, travel, and training.

(e) The commissioner shall transfer all funds to the task force from financial contributions and grants designated to the task force for the purposes described in this section.

Subd. 9. Forfeiture. Property seized by the task force is subject to forfeiture pursuant to sections 609.531, 609.5312, 609.5313, and 609.5315 if ownership cannot be established. The task force shall receive the proceeds from the sale of all property that it properly seizes and that is forfeited.

Subd. 10. Required reports. Beginning July 1, 2003, the commander of the task force shall report annually to the commissioner on the activities of the task force.

Subd. 11. Task force is permanent. Notwithstanding section 15.059, this section does not expire.

Subd. 12. Matching federal dollars. The task force may accept grants or contributions from any federal source or legal business or entity.

HIST: 1Sp2001 c 8 art 5 s 5; 2003 c 36 s 1

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Revisor of Statutes