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FBI Description of Financial Crimes

Overview and Priorities: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates matters relating to fraud, theft, or embezzlement occurring within or against the national and international financial community. These crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. Such acts are committed by individuals and organizations to obtain personal or business advantage. The FBI focuses its financial crimes investigations on such criminal activities as corporate fraud, securities and commodities fraud, health care fraud, financial institution fraud, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, mass marketing fraud, and money laundering. These are the identified priority crime problem areas of the Financial Crimes Section (FCS) of the FBI.

Mission: The mission of the FCS is to oversee the investigation of financial fraud and to facilitate the forfeiture of assets from those engaging in federal crimes.

In fiscal years (FY) 2010-2011, the FCS was comprised of the Asset Forfeiture/Money Laundering Unit (AF/MLU), the Economic Crimes Unit (ECU), the Health Care Fraud Unit (HCFU), the Forensic Accountant Unit (FAU), the Financial Institution Fraud Unit (FIFU), and the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC).

The ECU is responsible for significant frauds targeted against individuals, businesses, and industries, to include corporate fraud, insurance fraud (non-health care-related), securities and commodities fraud (e.g., investment fraud schemes such as Ponzi, pyramid, and advanced fee schemes and securities market manipulation schemes), and mass marketing fraud.

The HCFU oversees investigations targeting individuals and/or organizations who are defrauding public and private health care systems. Areas investigated under the HCFU include billing for services not rendered, billing for a higher reimbursable service than performed (upcoding), performing unnecessary services, kickbacks, unbundling of tests and services to generate higher fees, durable medical equipment (DME) fraud, pharmaceutical drug diversion, outpatient surgery fraud, and Internet pharmacy sales.

The mission of the FIFU is to identify, target, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations and individuals who engage in fraud schemes which impact financial institutions, particularly in the areas of mortgage fraud and bank failures.

The mission of the AF/MLU as it relates to financial institution fraud (FIF) is to identify, target, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations and individuals through the strategic use of asset forfeiture; and to ensure that field offices employ the money laundering violation in all investigations, where appropriate, to assist in the disruption and/or dismantlement of criminal enterprises.

The AF/MLU also has responsibilities for the management of the Forfeiture Support Project (FSP) in Calverton, Maryland. The FSP supports the forfeiture component of all major FBI investigations through data entry and analysis of financial documents, forensic accounting, and tracing assets subject to forfeiture.

The FAU was established in March 2009 to support all FBI investigative matters requiring a forensic financial investigation. The FAU provides oversight of the forensic accountant (FoA) and financial analyst (FA) programs, ensuring that the FBI’s financial investigative needs and priorities are continuously addressed. Key to the FAU’s mission is developing, managing, and enhancing the FoA and FA programs to ensure that FBI financial investigative matters are expedited with the high level of expertise required in an increasingly complex global financial system.

The FIC is a proactive data exploitation unit within the FCS, created in September 2009. It is staffed with a cadre of intelligence analysts (IA) and staff operations specialists (SOS). The FIC provides tactical analysis of financial intelligence datasets and databases by using evolving technology and data exploitation techniques to create targeting packages to identify or enhance the most egregious criminal enterprise investigations. The FIC has established liaison efforts with other government and private agencies to effectively address criminal threats through cooperative efforts. These partnerships will identify additional data sources to be exploited, thereby increasing information sharing with our partners. Although the FIC’s primary mission is to identify criminal threats, a secondary mission is to enhance ongoing investigations which involve large numbers of subjects connected to investigations in multiple field offices.

White-Collar Crime (WCC) National Priorities: Based upon FBI field office threat strategies and directives established by the president, the attorney general, the Director, and the Criminal Investigative Division (CID), the following national priorities for the WCC program (WCCP) have been established: public corruption, corporate fraud/securities fraud (to include Ponzi schemes), health care fraud, FIF (to include bank failures and mortgage fraud), insurance fraud, money laundering, and mass marketing fraud.

Although public corruption is a national priority within the WCCP, it will not be addressed in this report. Each section of this report provides an overview, statistical accomplishments, and case examples of the identified priority crime problems specifically addressed by the FCS. Where appropriate, suggestions are made in order to protect the public from being victimized by fraudulent activity.

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