The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the SEC's use of computer analysis to detect fraud in mutual funds. In 2009, the SEC began developing a computerized system to analyze the monthly returns from thousands of hedge funds. According to the Wall Street Journal, "[o]fficials won't say exactly how it works or how much it cost to build, but the agency has announced four civil-fraud suits filed as a result of what it calls the 'aberrational performance initiative.'" SEC officials are now widening their use of the system to cover mutual funds and private equity funds. The SEC uses the computerized system to identify funds with suspicious performance numbers, at which point asset-management enforcement unit personnel take a closer look at the fund. It appears that a number of probes of private equity funds and mutual funds center around excessive valuations of funds' holdings.
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