Strong messages and deterrence are at the core of what federal securities prosecutors are doing in Manhattan, Mary Jo White, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told Securities Law Weekly during an interview.

White’s efforts on the securities front are spearheaded by the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, which she described as the “most senior, experienced unit” in her office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Khuzami, chief of the task force, sat in on the interview. The task force is staffed with Assistant U.S. Attorneys, in-house criminal investigators — with some coming from various law enforcement agencies — and support personnel, according to Khuzami. Its mission is to prosecute all aspects of securities fraud and to maintain both the integrity of capital markets and public confidence in the markets, he said.