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After taking down terrorists, prosecuting Colombian drug dealers, and dispatching mass murderers to death row, former federal prosecutor Beth Wilkinson is tangling with a new kind of foe: Fannie Mae’s critics on Capitol Hill. Wilkinson, 43, was appointed executive vice president and general counsel of the Federal National Mortgage Association in December. She replaces Ann Kappler, who joined Washington, D.C. � based Collier Shannon Scott. Wilkinson comes to Fannie Mae at a pivotal time for the mortgage finance company. In January the board of directors released a report examining the company’s accounting practices. At press time, Fannie Mae was working to correct its financial reports, which could result in a multibillion-dollar profit restatement. And Senate Banking Committee chairman Richard Shelby was pushing his bill to strengthen regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Senator Shelby and other Fannie Mae critics aren’t nearly as scary as some of the career criminals Wilkinson has put behind bars. A Princeton University Army ROTC graduate, Wilkinson worked as the assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York from 1991 to 1995. There she successfully prosecuted a member of the infamous Medellin drug cartel. She moved on to work as special attorney to the U.S. attorney general, serving as a prosecutor in the case against Timothy McVeigh, who was executed in 2001. After finishing her work against the Oklahoma City bomber, Wilkinson says, she was exhausted and ready for a change. In 1998 Latham & Watkins offered her a job in their Washington, D.C., office. There her practice focused on complex civil litigation and white-collar crime. When recruiter Russell Reynolds Associates contacted her about the job at Fannie Mae, Wilkinson was interested, in part, because of the financial institution’s unique charter. “There aren’t many public companies where you have a mission to provide affordable housing,” she says. At Fannie Mae, Wilkinson oversees a legal department of 120 attorneys.

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