Justice unit to probe mortgage-backed securities

A new Justice Department fraud-fighting unit will bring together 55 prosecutors and federal and state investigators focusing on one of the contributing factors to the financial crisis — the collapse of residential mortgage-backed securities.

Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials will unveil details about the new unit Friday. President Barack Obama disclosed the plan to create the unit in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, one of the co-chairs of the initiative, said it is an effort to pull together state and federal probes into the bubble of mortgage-backed securities that led to the market crash.