In what is perhaps a further indication of its desire to play the role of detective rather than traffic cop, the Securities and Exchange Commission has tapped a pair of proven litigators to help lead its division of enforcement.

SEC Director of Enforcement Linda Chatman Thomsen has named Peter H. Bresnan and Walter G. Riccardi as deputy directors in the division. They will report to Thomsen.

Bresnan, 50, might be best known within the financial services industry for his appointment as interim director of the SEC's Boston office when the mutual fund scandal broke in 2003. Under his leadership, the regulator recovered $420 million for investors in civil proceedings against Putnam Investments, MFS Investments and a pair of FleetBoston subsidiaries, which are now under Bank of America. Bresnan is also noted for litigating the SEC's first fraud case against a hedge fund. A graduate of Kenyon College and Fordham University Law School, Bresnan will oversee personnel, training and staffing, the SEC said.

Riccardi, 52, succeeded Bresnan at the regulator's Boston after distinguishing himself in the private sector with Coopers & Lybrand, which merged into accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. His record at the SEC includes several cases against pharmaceutical companies for making false claims about government approval of drugs. A graduate of Columbia College and New York University Law School, Riccardi will oversee technology and financial systems.

"Between them, they have years of experience at the Commission and decades of experience practicing law," Thomsen said. "And we will exploit every ounce of that experience and all of their collective and abundant talents to protect investors."

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