Task Force Looking for Fraud as Oil Prices Fall

Attorney General Eric Holder wants to see plummeting crude oil prices make their way to the gas pump, and he has instructed the newly formed Oil and Gas Price Task Force to monitor the markets to make sure that happens.

"This working group was created to identify whether fraud or manipulation played any role in the wholesale and retail markets as prices increased," Holder wrote in the letter. "If wholesale prices continue to decrease, fraud or manipulation must not be allowed to prevent price decreases from being passed on to consumers at the pump."

Crude oil prices fell dramatically this week, down from around $115 per barrel on Monday to just over $97 per barrel by Friday afternoon. And Holder wants his task force to refocus on making sure prices at the pump come down instead of policing how they go up.

"Your longstanding expertise and oversight enables us to evaluate forthcoming market developments, so that if there are instances of suspected illegal activity, they can be pursued quickly," he wrote. "And the Working Group will foster increased cooperation between investigators and regulators, so that - if necessary - we can vigorously enforce state and federal laws against collusion, manipulation, and other forms of wrongdoing."

The group is made up of representatives from several federal agencies as well as state attorneys general.