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Tag: Fraud

FBI Dir. Mueller Says Stimulus Plan Vulnerable to Fraud

Robert Mueller speaking in N.Y./fbi photo

Robert Mueller speaking in N.Y./fbi photo

There is no question the stimulus package will be a haven for scammers. The package includes a weatherization program , which allows homes to become more energy efficient. That one will open the door  for crooks involved in mortgage fraud. It won’t be pretty.

By Thom Weidlich
Bloomberg
NEW YORK — FBI Director Robert Mueller said the U.S. government’s stimulus package, including the Troubled Asset Relief Program, has “the potential to be the next wave” of cases the agency investigates.

“These funds are inherently vulnerable to bribery, fraud, conflicts of interest and collusion,” Mueller said today (Tuesday) in a speech at the Economic Club of New York. “There is an old adage: Where there is money to be made, fraud is not far behind, like bees to honey.”

He compared possible stimulus-package fraud to Hurricane Katrina relief investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that resulted in 246 convictions in Mississippi and Louisiana.

For Full Story

Fed and State Prosecutors Preparing For Surge of Financial Fraud Cases

We knew mortgage fraud in this country had spun out of control and we certainly remember Enron. But Bernie Madoff was a signal that fraud in this nation was so pervasive that more needed to be done. The public is demanding it and it looks like the fed and state prosecutors are starting to respond.

By DAVID SEGAL
New York Times
NEW YORK — Spurred by rising public anger, federal and state investigators are preparing for a surge of prosecutions of financial fraud.

Across the country, attorneys general have already begun indicting dozens of loan processors, mortgage brokers and bank officers. Last week alone, there were guilty pleas in Minnesota, Delaware, North Carolina and Connecticut and sentences in Florida and Vermont – all stemming from home loan scams.

With the Obama administration focused on stabilizing the banks and restoring confidence in the stock market, it has said little about federal civil or criminal charges. But its proposed budget contains hints that it will add to this weight of litigation, including money for more F.B.I. agents to investigate mortgage fraud and white-collar crime, and a 13 percent raise for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Officials at the Justice Department have not said much in public about their plans. But people who have met with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. say he is weighing a range of strategies.

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Senate Dems Push for More Money For FBI to Fight Fraud

With the shift of resources to terrorism, the FBI has fallen far short of its mission in dealing with all types of fraud, including mortgage fraud. This added money could help.

By PAUL SHUKOVSKY
Seattle P-I
Senate Democrats, mindful that the FBI lacks resources to adequately address the nation’s mortgage meltdown, are pushing a measure to give the agency $75 million to fight financial industry crime.

The sum, to be considered by the Senate as part of the economic stimulus package, would fund at least 165 new agents pointed toward stopping “mortgage fraud, predatory lending, financial fraud and market manipulation.”

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration transferred at least 2,400 agents from FBI crime squads to counterterrorism units and did not replace them. The result was a precipitous drop in the number of criminal prosecutions around the country, the Seattle P-I has reported in a two-year investigative series.
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Pittsburgh FBI Agent Tells of His Stint in Afghanistan to Crack Down on Contractor Fraud

Jeff Killeen is just one of the many FBI agents who have played an increasing roll in the world for the U.S. in the post-9/11 era. He went there to help crack down on fraud committed by U.S. and Afghani contractors.

By Torsten Ove
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PITTSBURGH — Home from what he calls the “wilds” of Afghanistan, Pittsburgh FBI Chief Division Counsel Jeff Killeen climbed into a colleague’s car at the airport for the ride to the South Side office.
As Agent Bill Crowley drove, he noticed something different about his friend.
In addition to being 10 pounds lighter, Agent Killeen was a bit twitchy, glancing over his right shoulder and looking out the window as if he expected to see something bad.
Turns out he was.
Out of reflex, he was checking for suicide car bombers — the main threat to any American on the chaotic roads of Kabul.
“Crowley said that I was ‘on edge,’ ” said Agent Killeen, 56. “You’re constantly looking for threats over there.”
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More Stock Fraud Going Undetected in Bush Years

As the country worried about terrorist attacks, the Bush adminstration seemed to take its eye off of Wall Street. The result: Fraud and more fraud and people losing life savings.

By ERIC LICHTBLAU
New York Times
WASHINGTON – Federal officials are bringing far fewer prosecutions as a result of fraudulent stock schemes than they did eight years ago, according to new data, raising further questions about whether the Bush administration has been too lax in policing Wall Street.
Legal and financial experts say that a loosening of enforcement measures, cutbacks in staffing at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a shift in resources toward terrorism at the F.B.I. have combined to make the federal government something of a paper tiger in investigating securities crimes.
At a time when the financial news is being dominated by the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that Bernard L. Madoff is accused of running, federal officials are on pace this year to bring the fewest prosecutions for securities fraud since at least 1991, according to the data, compiled by a Syracuse University research group using Justice Department figures.
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