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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: CNBC's Maria Bartiromo Speaks with Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York, Today on CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" at 4pm ET

Monday, 14 Jan 2013 | 5:53 PM ET

WHEN: TODAY, MONDAY, JANUARY 14TH AT 4PM ET

WHERE: CNBC'S "CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York, today on CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" at 4PM ET. Following is a link to the interview on CNBC.com:
http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?play=1&video=3000141239. All references must be sourced to CNBC.

BARTIROMO: WELCOME BACK WALL STREET'S TOP COP TAKING A HARD LINE AGAINST WHITE COLLAR CRIME PREET BHARARA'S OFFICE CLAIMING IT EXTRACTED $3 BILLION IN CRIMINAL FORFEITURES LAST YEAR ALONE THAT'S A RECORD. HIS WORK THOUGH IS NOT WITHOUT CRITICISM SOME SAY HE IS OVERREACHING OTHERS SAY HE IS NOT GOING FAR ENOUGH POINTING TO THE FACT THAT NO BIG NAMES FROM THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS HAVE BEEN PROSECUTED CRIMINALLY. JOINING ME RIGHT NOW IS PREET BHARARA HE IS US ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK. MR BHARARA GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON THE PROGRAM.

BHARARA: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

BARTIROMO: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. SO IS WALL STREET SAFER SINCE YOU TOOK OFFICE IN 2009?

BHARARA: YOU KNOW I DON'T WANT TO TAKE ANY KIND OF CREDIT JUST FROM MY OFFICE. I THINK THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN SIGNIFICANT PROSECUTIONS ARE BROUGHT AND WHEN AGGRESSIVE PROSECUTIONS ARE BROUGHT THAT ARE DONE WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW THAT THAT MAKES PEOPLE FEEL A LITTLE BETTER ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN A FAIR WAY. I MEAN ALL OF THIS THAT IS GOING ON HERE AT THE NYSE IS AN INCREDIBLE PART OF AMERICA AN INCREDIBLE PART OF COMMERCE IN AMERICA BUT PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE ALL THAT GOES ON HERE IS HAPPENING IN A FAIR WAY AND THAT THE RULES ARE THE SAME FOR EVERYBODY NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW. AND WE TRY EVERYDAY IN MY OFFICE AND AT THE SEC AND THE FBI TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT'S TRUE.

BARTIROMO: DO YOU THINK PEOPLE REALIZE THAT THOUGH BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE THE INDIVIDUAL INVESTOR HAS LEFT. BECAUSE THEY FEEL LIKE THE GAME IS RIGGED AND THEY FEEL LIKE THEY'RE NOT GETTING A FAIR SHOT ITS TOO FAST THE ELECTRONIC TRADING IT GETS AWAY FROM THEM. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET THAT CONFIDENCE BACK ON THE PART OF MIDDLE AMERICA THAT WALL STREET IS NOT EVIL THAT IN FACT WHAT GOES ON HERE IS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD?

BHARARA: I THINK A LOT OF THINGS HAVE TO HAPPEN. I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE BUSINESS NEED TO DO A BETTER JOB OF EXPRESSING TO PEOPLE THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT ETHICS AND INTEGRITY IN INVESTING. MAKE SURE THEY MAKE THAT A HIGH PRIORITY MAKES SURE EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS IT IS A HIGH PRIORITY FOR THEM. AND ON THE PART THAT REGULATORS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT FOLKS PLAY IS TO MAKE SURE THEY BRING THE CASES THAT ARE APPROPRIATE TO BRING AND THE CONVICTIONS THAT ARE APPROPRIATE TO BE GOTTEN AND OVER TIME I THINK PEOPLE APPRECIATE THAT WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN DOING IT FOR NOT JUST A MONTH OR A YEAR OR TWO YEARS OR THREE YEARS BUT IT'S A SUSTAINED EFFORT THAT PEOPLE WILL FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE COMING BACK INTO THE MARKET BECAUSE THEY'LL BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE CHEATING AND BREAKING THE LAW WILL BE HELD TO ACCOUNT.

BARTIROMO: WHICH IS WHY YOU REALLY HAVE BEEN PRAISED OVER YOUR HANDLING OF BERNARD MADOFF, TAKING HIM AND HIS PONZI SCHEMERS DOWN. THAT I KNOW WAS A BIG PORTION OF THE $3 MILLION IN FORFEITURES FOR 2012. IS THAT RIGHT?

BHARARA: YES. BUT THERE'S A LOT MORE BEYOND THAT. AS I LIKE TO SAY AT A TIME WHEN PEOPLE DENIGRATE GOVERNMENT AND WHETHER OR NOT A DOLLAR SPENT ON SOME ASPECT OF THE GOVERNMENT MAKES SENSE OR NOT, OUR BUDGET IS ABOUT 50 MILLION BUCKS. WE BROUGHT BACK $3 BILLION. THAT'S ABOUT 60 TIMES OUR BUDGET WHICH IS BETTER THAN A LOT OF THE COMPANIES AND A LOT OF THE HEDGE FUNDS WHO TRADE IN COMPANIES AROUND THIS EXCHANGE GET.

BARTIROMO: THAT'S A PRETTY GOOD RETURN BY ANYBODY'S MEASURES. BUT YOU KNOW YOU BRING UP AN IMPORTANT POINT. WITH DODD FRANK AND WITH SO MANY MORE INSTITUTIONS THAT THE S.E.C. IS GOING TO HAVE TO LOOK AT, YOUR WORK HAS OBVIOUSLY BEEN PILING UP. THE S.E.C.'S WORK IS PILING UP, THE FBI'S WORK. DO YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES THAT YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY CONDUCT AND DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO PROPERLY? IT SEEMS YOU'RE ALL SQUEEZED. DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT FOR EXAMPLE PERSONNEL THAT UNDERSTANDS SOME OF THESE COMPLEX SECURITIES YOUR DEALING WITH AND DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE?

BHARARA: LOOK. I DON'T HAVE AN ARMY. AND THE WHITE COLLAR ENFORCEMENT AREA I HAVE WHAT YOU CAN REFER TO AS A S.E.A.L. TEAM OF REALLY DEDICATED SMART LAWYERS AND INVESTIGATORS. AS DOES THE S.E.C. AND AS DOES THE FBI THAT WORK ON THESE MATTERS. I THINK THEY'RE AS SMART AS YOU CAN GET IN THIS COUNTRY. WE CAN ALWAYS USE MORE, BUT I THINK WE MAKE EFFECTIVE USE OF THE RESOURCES WE HAVE. WE COULD ALWAYS USE MORE BUT I THANK PEOPLE ARE SPENDING THE TIME AND DEDICATING THEMSELVES IN THE PROPER WAY TO MAKING SURE WE GET THE JOB DONE.

BARTIROMO: WHAT POCKETS OF FINANCIAL SERVICES HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE MOST AGGRESSIVE. PEOPLE TALK ABOUT HEDGE FUNDS BEING VERY AGGRESSIVE AND WE ALL KNOW THERE'S THE WAGONS CIRCLING AROUND SAC CAPITAL AND STEVE COHEN. CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT THAT CASE?

BHARARA: I DON'T TALK ABOUT PARTICULAR CASES EVER.

BARTIROMO: OKAY. IN TERMS OF THE AREAS OF FINANCIAL SERVICES IN WHICH YOU -- THAT SKIRT THE LINE, IF YOU WILL. CAN YOU NAME AREAS THAT YOU THINK ARE MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN OTHERS?

BHARARA: THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING AGGRESSIVE. THE PROBLEM IS WHEN PEOPLE THINK THAT THEY CAN GET AS CLOSE TO THE LINE AS POSSIBLE AND THEY ASPIRE TO THE MINIMUM, JUST STAYING OVER THE LINE. THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE WHO GET THE WRONG MESSAGE AND THEN CROSS THE LINE. THEY DON'T JUST CROSS THE LINE A LOT OF TIMES THEY GALLOP OVER THE LINE. AND THAT'S WHERE WE COME IN. PART OF THE DISHEARTENING THING OF THE INSIDER TRADING CASES WE BROUGHT OVER THE LAST THREE OR FOUR YEARS IS THAT YOU'RE FINDING THAT KIND FO MISCONDUCT AND MISBEHAVIOR NOT JUST IN ONE SECTOR BUT IN A LOT OF SECTORS. NOT JUST TRADING FIRMS BUT ALSO INSIDE COMPANIES. AND NOT JUST IN COMPANIES BUT ALSO AT EXPERT NETWORKING FIRMS. SO THE PROBLEM IS IT'S ALL OVER. WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS ADDRESS ALL OF IT.

BARTIROMO: YOU STEPPED UP YOUR EFFORTS. YOU'VE BECOME MORE SOPHISTICATED AND MORE AGGRESSIVE IF YOU WILL. FOR EXAMPLE, THE WIRETAPPING. EVERYBODY WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS WIRETAPPING NOW. IT'S SCARY. IS EVERYBODY ON WALL STREET BEING LISTENED TO? ARE YOU USING MAFIA LIKE TACTICS NOW TO GET THE BAD GUYS NOW?

BHARARA: ONE THING CLEAR I DIDN'T INVENT THE IDEA OF USING WIRETAPS. I INHERITED THAT PRACTICE FROM SMARTER, MORE INNOVATIVE PEOPLE THAN I.

BARTIROMO: IT WORKS.

BHARARA: IT DOES WORK. AND PART OF THE REASON IT WORKS AS MIGHT BE CLEAR, IT HELPS US TO CONVICT PEOPLE WHO DESERVE TO BE CONVICTED IN COURT. BUT THE OTHER THING WHICH I THINK YOUR QUESTION GETS TO IS IT MAKES PEOPLE HAVE SOME CONCERN. IT ALLOWS US TO ESTABLISH ONE OF THE MAIN MISSIONS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT WHICH IS DETERRENCE. AND IF PEOPLE WHO ARE AROUND THESE PARTS AND WHO ARE WATCHING AND ARE IN A POSITION TO TRADE ON INSIDER INFORMATION HAVE TO WORRY THEIR PHONES ARE BEING LISTENED TO, THAT THEIR FRIENDS AND COMPATRIOTS ARE ACTUALLY POTENTIALLY GOVERNMENT WITNESSES OR CAN BECOME GOVERNMENT WITNESSES. IF THEY HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THOSE THINGS, I THINK IT CAUSES THEM TO THINK NOT JUST ONCE OR TWICE, BUT THREE TIMES OR FOUR TIMES BEFORE THEY FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO'VE GONE TO JAIL IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.

BARTIROMO: LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THE LAST FEW YEARS. BECAUSE I THINK THERE'S A BIG GROUP OF PEOPLE OUT THERE PARTICULARLY IN MIDDLE AMERICA RETAIL INVESTORS WHO SAY LOOK, I LOST ALL MY MONEY. I LOST MY 401(k). I LOST MY HOUSE AND YET NOBODY HAS GONE TO JAIL FOR IT. NO ONE HAS BEEN TAKEN DOWN AS A RESULT OF THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS. IS IT HARD? IS IT TOO DIFFICULT TO ACTUALLY IDENTIFY AND SAY THIS WAS FRAUD? YOU CAN'T PROSECUTE STUPIDITY. IS THAT WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH?

BHARARA: FACT OF THE MATTER IS, A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE GONE TO PRISON. WE HAVE PROSECUTED SCORES AND SCORES OF MORTGAGE FRAUD CASES WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT A CERTAIN TYPE OF PERSON OR A CERTAIN TYPE OF EXECUTIVE HAS GONE TO PRISON, I WILL TELL YOU THERE ARE PEOPLE IN MY OFFICE AND AT THE S.E.C. AND AT THE FBI AND ELSEWHERE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WHO ARE WORKING VERY, VERY HARD TO BRING CASES THAT ARE APPROPRIATE TO BE BROUGHT. ONE THING THE PUBLIC SHOULD UNDERSTAND IS WE'RE NOT AFRAID OF ANYONE. WE'RE NOT AFRAID OF BRINGING ANY CASE AGAINST ANYBODY NO MATTER HOW BIG THEY ARE HOW WEALTHY THEY ARE OR HOW PROMINENT THEY ARE . SOMETIMES IT TAKES AWHILE TO BUILD THOSE CASES. WE BROUGHT A COUPLE OF THEM THAT YOU MAY HAVE COVERED IN THE LAST YEAR SOMETIMES IT TAKES A BREAK IN THE CASE. SOMETIMES IT'S THE CASE AS YOU MENTIONED THAT THINGS ARE JUST NEGLIGENT AND STUPID. SOMETIMES IT'S THE CASE THAT PEOPLE CAN RELY AS A DEFENSE ON INFORMATION THEY GOT FROM THEIR ACCOUNTANT OR LAWYER. WE'RE NOT DONE YET. AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK ON IT.

BARTIROMO: ARE WE STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MORTGAGE FRAUD? WILL THERE BE BIGGER BLOWUPS TO COME THERE? OR IS THERE ANOTHER AREA YOU'RE PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN?

BHARARA: WE'RE INTERESTED IN THAT AREA AND ALL AREAS RELATED IT AND CONTINUE TO BE INTERESTED IN PONZI SCHEMES AND INSIDER TRADING. SOMETHING THAT I'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT A LITTLE BIT IN THE LAST YEAR OR TWO AS OTHER PEOPLE HAVE BEEN IS THE THREAT OF CYBER CRIME. IT'S SOMETHING THAT ORDINARY AMERICANS CAN BE EFFECTED BY AND CORPORATE AMERICANS COULD BE AFFECTED BY.

BARTIROMO: HOW DO YOU CONTROL CYBER CRIME?

BHARARA: YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE AN EFFORT. PEOPLE HAVE TO START. AND THERE'S A LAW ENFORCEMENT PART AND A PIECE TO BE PLAYED. AND THE FBI AND THE SECRET SERVICE AND OTHER AGENCIES NEED TO STEP UP AND BECOME MORE SOPHISTICATED. BUT ALSO AS I'VE SAID MANY TIMES COMPANIES NEED TO BE VIGILANT ABOUT IT ALSO. IN THE OLD DAYS NO BANK OR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION WOULD HAVE THOUGHT TWICE ABOUT REPORTING TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES ABOUT A ROBBERY THAT HAPPENED IN THE TRADITIONAL WAY WITH A NOTE AND GUN AND MASK. YET THOSE KINDS OF THINGS ARE HAPPENING ALL THE TIME. PEOPLE ARE FRAUDULENTLY TAKING MONEY OUT OF BANKS AND STEALING PEOPLE'S ACCOUNT INFORMATION ON A FAIRLY REGULAR BASIS AND WE'RE SOMETIMES FINDING THAT INSTITUTIONS ARE NOT REPORTING THEM TO THE AUTHORITIES AS THEY HAVE BEFORE. THAT'S A MISTAKE AND IT HURTS ALL OF US.

BARTIROMO: AND THEY'RE DOING IT THROUGH MONEY MOVEMENTS ONLINE?

BHARARA: ONLINE THE INTERNET IS AN AMAZING THING BUT IT ALSO IS A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN COMMIT A LOT OF CRIME. AND SOMETIMES IT IS HAPPENING FROM OTHER COUNTRIES AND YOU'RE GOING TO SEE US BRING MORE AGGRESSIVE CASES ALONG THOSE LINES IN THE FUTURE.

BARTIROMO: FINAL QUESTION HERE. A LOT OF PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT ERIC HOLDER. WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN THAT JOB?

BHARARA: I LOVE THE JOB I HAVE NOW JUST LIKE YOU LOVE YOUR JOB.

BARTIROMO: AND I KNOW THAT EVERYBODY WATCHING YOU IS LOVING THE JOB THAT YOU ARE DOING.


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