Major Criminal, Cyber, and Counterintelligence Investigations
Cases since 2001 illustrating the FBI's role with partner agencies in criminal, cyber, counterintelligence investigations and others.
Major Criminal, Cyber, and Counterintelligence Investigations
While counterterrorism became the FBI’s top investigative priority following the 9/11 attacks, the Bureau is committed to maintaining its century-old law enforcement role, including investigating public and corporate corruption, white-collar crimes, fraud, violent crimes, and heading off the cyber threat. Our expertise in evidence collection and victim identification has also provided support in crisis response and recovery efforts following natural disasters.
Cases that highlight our efforts and the work of our partners in the past decade include:
May 2011: Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson pleads guilty in Maryland to an extortion conspiracy relating to the performance of his official duties and tampering with a witness and evidence. Details
May 2011: New York billionaire Raj Rajaratnam is convicted in the largest-ever hedge fund insider trading scheme. The managing member of Galleon Management, Rajaratnam and others engaged in overlapping conspiracies to commit securities fraud. Details
May 2011: Michael Francis Mara, of Baton Rouge, a/k/a the “Grandad Bandit,” is sentenced to 300 months’ imprisonment for robbing 26 banks in 14 states. Details
May 2011: Norberto Gonzalez-Claudio, a fugitive for 25 years, is arrested in Cayey, Puerto Rico. He was wanted in connection with his participation in the armed robbery of approximately $7 million from a Wells Fargo Depot in Connecticut. Details
March 2011: Jared Lee Loughner is indicted for the murder of a federal judge and a Congressional staff member, as well as for causing the deaths of four other participants and injuries to many more during his alleged attempt to assassinate U.S. Representative Gabrielle D. Giffords on January 8. Details
March 2011: Thirty-five leaders, members, and associates of Barrio Azteca, one of the most brutal gangs operating along the U.S.-Mexico border, are charged in a federal indictment in Texas with various counts of racketeering, murder, drug offenses, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. Details
February 2011: Michael Scanlon, a business partner of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is sentenced to 20 months in prison for his role in a wide-ranging public corruption and fraud conspiracy. Details
January 2011: FBI agents and partner law enforcement officers arrest nearly 130 members of the Mafia in New York City and other East Coast cities charged in the largest nationally coordinated organized crime takedown in the Bureau’s history. Details
January 2011: Noshir S. Gowadia, of Hawaii, is sentenced to 32 years in prison for communicating classified national defense information to China, illegally exporting military technical data, as well as money laundering, filing false tax returns, and other offenses. Details
December 2010: The largest-ever U.S. investment fraud sweep is conducted, with 211 cases involving more than 120,000 victims who lost more than $8 billion. The multi-agency investigation focused on scams directly targeting individual investors. Details
November 2010: A Somali man is sentenced in Virginia to acts of piracy against the USS Ashland in April. The man and five Somali accomplices believed the ship—cruising in the Gulf of Aden—was a merchant vessel, and they attempted to seize it and hold it for ransom. Details
November 2010: Harold Nicholson, a former CIA employee, pleads guilty to the crimes of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. Details
November 2010: A three-day operation in 40 U.S. cities leads to the recovery of 69 children who were being victimized through prostitution. More than 850 individuals—including nearly 100 pimps—were arrested on state and local charges. Details
October 2010: FBI launches massive public corruption takedown in San Juan, Puerto Rico, arresting 133 subjects—the majority of them police officers. Details
October 2010: A global investigation with our international partners results in a major cyber bust targeting a theft ring that used a Trojan horse virus to steal more than $70 million. Details
October 2010: Seventy-three defendants—including associates of an Armenian-American organized crime group— are indicted in five states in one of the largest Medicare fraud cases to date. Fraudulent billings and other related crimes totaled more than $163 million. Details
September 2010: Charges are filed against 37 people for their roles in global bank fraud schemes that allegedly used hundreds of false-name bank accounts to steal over $3 million from dozens of U.S. accounts that were compromised by malware attacks. Details
July 2010: Ten Russians who had lived seemingly normal lives in the U.S. plead guilty to being spies and agree to leave the country immediately. They had been arrested a month earlier after a lengthy undercover operation.
June 2010: Nearly 500 people—from industry insiders to straw buyers—are arrested in a multi-agency nationwide mortgage fraud takedown. Total losses from a variety of fraud schemes were estimated to exceed $2 billion. Details
May 2010: Nearly 600 local, state, and federal officers take part in one of the New York area’s largest gang takedowns in recent memory. Indictments were unsealed against 78 members of two violent gangs, the Bloods and the Latin Kings. Details
February 2010: John Lawson, of Louisiana, is sentenced for a massive, two-year identity theft and bribery scheme that earned him a 309-year prison sentence. The FBI entered the picture in mid-2006 after being contacted by a car dealership that had $50,000 stolen from its bank account. After an extensive investigation, we identified Thompson as the culprit.
January 2010: Twenty-two business executives and employees are arrested and charged with attempting to win a contract to sell a variety of military and law enforcement products by bribing overseas officials. Details
December 2009: Thomas Joseph Petters, of Minnesota, is convicted of orchestrating a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. The investigation began in 2008, when a co-conspirator reported that she had been assisting Petters in executing a large Ponzi scheme during the previous 10 years. Details
November 2009: A former State Department official and his wife plead guilty to federal charges stemming from their roles in a 30-year conspiracy to provide classified U.S. national defense information to the Republic of Cuba. Details
November 2009: Four hackers are charged with masterminding the simultaneous theft of $9 million from 2,100 ATMs from around the world. They did it all in 12 hours, illustrating the global reach—and threat—of cyber crime. Details
November 2009: Former Louisiana Congressman William J. Jefferson is sentenced to 13 years in prison for bribery, racketeering, and money laundering. He is also ordered him to forfeit more than $470,000. Details
October 2009: Nearly 100 people are charged in the U.S. and Egypt in one the largest cyber fraud phishing cases to date. The defendants targeted U.S. banks and victimized hundreds and possibly thousands of account holders by stealing their financial information and using it to transfer money to bogus accounts. Details
October 2009: As part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, 100 children victimized through prostitution are recovered in two separate multi-city sweeps. More than 1,200 individuals—including 60 pimps—were arrested on state and local charges. Details
September 2009: In the largest-ever health care fraud settlement, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer agrees to pay $2.3 billion to resolve charges of illegal and fraudulent promotion of its products. Details
August 2009: A former Air Force sergeant is sentenced to 28 months in prison for his role in a widespread bribery and extortion conspiracy. Fifty-six additional defendants have been sentenced in the conspiracy. The charges arose from Operation Lively Green, an undercover FBI investigation that began in December 2001. Details
July 2009: Three New Jersey mayors, two state legislators, numerous political operatives, and five well-known rabbis from New York and New Jersey are arrested in an FBI sweep and charged with political corruption and international money laundering. Details
July 2009: James Wenneker Von Brunn, of Maryland, is charged with the murder of Special Police Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns and related hate crime and gun charges for his alleged attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10, 2009. The Bureau sent agents and team members on SWAT, Evidence Recovery, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, to provide on scene support. Details
July 2009: Ten Most Wanted fugitive Edward Eugene Harper is arrested without incident by the FBI and Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming.
July 2009: Emigdio Preciado, Jr., who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for a brutal attack on police officers in 2000, is captured in Mexico. Details
June 2009: Bernard L. Madoff is sentenced to 150 years in prison for perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that resulted in billions of dollars of losses to thousands of investor-victims. Details
June 2009: FBI joins regional first responders when two Metro trains collide, killing the train operator and eight passengers. The National Capital Response Squad and other Bureau personnel swung into action at the request of the National Transportation Safety Board to assist with evidence recovery and victim identification. Details
June 2009: Indictments are unsealed against 53 people in a combined enforcement effort specifically targeting fraud schemes that threaten Medicare. Arrests involved at least nine Medicare provider companies and a number of company executives, doctors, therapists, medical recruiters, medical assistants, and even some Medicare beneficiaries. Details
May 2009: About 1,400 law enforcement officers participate in the nation’s largest-ever gang sweep to date, arresting 88 individuals named in a federal RICO indictment. Details
April 2009: Indictments are announced in connection with the “Dream Homes Program.” The program promised to pay homeowners’ mortgages in return for an up-front fee that would be invested in profitable business ventures but turned into a $70 million nightmare for more than 1,000 investors. Details
January 2009: Ten members and associates of the Florencia 13 (F13) street gang are convicted on federal criminal charges, including racketeering and narcotics distribution. They were among 102 defendants named in four indictments in 2007 as part of Operation Joker’s Wild. Details
January 2009: Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford is charged in a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that victimized thousands of people in the U.S. and abroad. Details
December 2008: “Operation Joint Hammer” the U.S. component of an ongoing global enforcement operation targeting transnational rings of child pornographers, announces arrests of more than 60 people in the U.S. involved in the trade of child pornography. Details
October 2008: FBI and its global partners wrap up “Operation Dark Market,” a two-year undercover cyber operation resulting in 56 arrests worldwide and the prevention of $70 million in potential losses. Details
September 2008: Former lobbyist Jack A. Abramoff is sentenced on corruption and fraud charges for corruptly providing things of value to public officials with the intent to influence them. He was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $23,134,695 in restitution to victims. Details
August 2008: Ten Most Wanted fugitive Michael Registe is arrested without incident at a guest house on the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten. A tip from the America’s Most Wanted television program led the FBI to Registe.
June 2008: Ten Most Wanted fugitive Jon Savarino Schillaci is arrested without incident at his residence in San Jose de Gracia, Mexico.
April 2008: “Tennessee Waltz” corruption investigation culminates with convictions or guilty pleas of a dozen state and local public officials, and the emergence of new state ethics laws and the creation of an independent ethics commission in Tennessee. Details
April 2008: Customs and Border Protection official Margarita Crispin is sentenced to 240 months in prison for conspiring to import drugs into the U.S. Details
February 2008: Fifty-seven suspects are arrested in major crackdown on the Mafia in New York, including the indictment of the leadership of the Gambino organized crime family. Details
August 2007: Eighteen individuals are indicted on racketeering and related charges for allegedly operating an Internet business that generated more than $126 million in gross revenues from the illegal sale of prescription pharmaceuticals. Details
August 2007: Xiaodong Sheldon Meng, of California, pleads guilty to violating the Economic Espionage Act. Meng exported the source code of a product that is a designated defense article for the U.S. military. The code was for visual simulation software program used for training military fighter pilots. Details
August 2007: Agents respond to Interstate 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, first to help rescue victims and rule out terrorism as a possible cause, and then to collect evidence to support local and federal agencies investigating the fatal collapse. Details
July 2007: Leandro Aragoncillo, a former FBI analyst and White House military staff member, is sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage. He was arrested in 2005 and pleaded guilty to three counts of espionage in a Newark federal court. Details
June 2007: Operation Bot Roast, a coordinated initiative to disrupt and dismantle the perpetrators of massive botnets, identifies about 1 million compromised computers in the U.S. and leads to cyber-crimes charges. Details
April 2007: FBI’s Richmond Division dispatches 20 special agents to Virginia Tech to support local law enforcement’s response to a campus shooting. Victim assistance specialists on the Victims Assistance Rapid Deployment Team also respond. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people before committing suicide. Details
January 2007: An 11-month investigation culminates in charges against 11 members and associates of the Gambino and Luchese organized crime family and two associates of the Sicilian mafia. Details
January 2007: Former Ku Klux Klan member James Ford Seal is indicted in Mississippi on charges related to his role in the abductions and slayings of two young African American men in 1964. Details
January 2007: Former Congressman Robert W. Ney is sentenced on multiple charges including honest services fraud and making false statement to the U.S. House of Representatives. Details
September 2006: William Shaoul Benjamin, of Los Angeles, is charged with working for the former Iraqi regime, which was controlled by Saddam Hussein, and failing to notify the U.S. government.
August 2006: Warren Steed Jeffs, leader of a polygamous sect and one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, is arrested during a routine traffic stop in Las Vegas. Details
July 2006: Two men plead guilty for conspiring to steal and sell Coca Cola trade secrets. The case involved an undercover FBI operation. Details
July 2006: Gambino crime family acting boss and official underboss Arnold Squitieri is sentenced to 92 months’ imprisonment, following conviction on racketeering and extortion charges. Details
May 2006: FBI opens investigation into assassination attempt on President George W. Bush during a speech in T’bilisi, Georgia. The man’s hand-grenade failed to detonate. At the request of the Georgian government, agents collected evidence and worked the crime scene. The suspect, Vladimir Arutyunia, was convicted in January 2007. Details
March 2006: Former NSA employee Kenneth Wayne Ford sentenced for unauthorized possession of national defense information. He tried to sell national secrets to foreign agents.
March 2006: Two Russian organized crime figures are arrested for their participation in a plot to murder two Kiev-based businessmen, twin brothers popularly known as the “Brothers Karamazov.” Details
March 2006: Cheng Chui Ping, “the Mother of all Snakeheads” (criminal slang for human smugglers), is sentenced to 35 years in prison on smuggling charges. For more than a decade, Cheng smuggled as many as 3,000 illegal immigrants from her native China into the U.S. Details
January 2006: Lawrence A. Franklin, of West Virginia, a former Iran desk officer at the Pentagon, is sentenced for conspiring with two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in Washington, D.C., to unlawfully disclose classified national defense information.
December 2005: Donald W. Keyser pleads guilty to unlawfully removing classified documents from the Department of State and to two counts of making false official statements.
December 2005: FBI and other federal agencies announce the results of “Operation Quick Flip,” an ongoing initiative to combat the growing epidemic of mortgage fraud. Details
September 2005: In response to Hurricane Katrina, FBI personnel help local authorities maintain order while Evidence Response Teams and the Hazardous Material Response Unit helped deal with such things as toxins in the flood waters and downed live power lines. The FBI would go on to play a major investigative role uncovering scores of fraud schemes that emerged following the natural disaster. Details
July 2005: Sixty-three individuals convicted in “Operation Bullpen,” part of the FBI’s ongoing, national investigation of forgers and counterfeiters. Seizures exceeded $4.9 million, including five homes, cash, bank accounts, jewelry, a Ferrari, a boat, and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Details
February 2005: FBI unveils new Art Crime Team with the return to Iraq of ancient stone seals stolen during the looting in Baghdad that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Details
December 2004: FBI International Operations Division responds to tsunami in South Asia, providing various forms of humanitarian and laboratory support.
September 2004: Nicholas Tombros pleads guilty to sending spam by the thousands while “war driving” through neighborhoods of Marina Del Rey, earning him the dubious honor of being the first spammer convicted under federal law. Details
October 2004: The largest case of identity theft to date is investigated and prosecuted in the U.S., with 30,000 victims across the U.S. and Canada and millions of dollars in losses. Details
January 2004: Six Texas men are sentenced for human trafficking to a combined 51 years in prison after an in-depth investigation by the FBI and its law enforcement partners. Details
January 2004: A 20-count indictment charges 27 members and associates of the Bonanno crime family in New York with wide-ranging racketeering and murder charges going back more than a decade. Details
November 2003: Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy charged in an 85-count indictment stemming from a wide-ranging scheme to defraud investors, the public and the U.S. government about HealthSouth’s financial condition. Details
November 2003: FBI initiates first phase of “Operation Peer Pressure,” an effort to combat the proliferation of child pornography and child exploitation. Forty-one FBI field offices were involved, conducting online sessions in which undercover agents were able to download child pornography from offenders’ computers. Details
June 2003: Martha Stewart is charged with securities fraud and conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents. In 2004, she served a five-month prison sentence for obstruction and false statements. Details
August 2002: Air Force intelligence officer Brian P. Regan is arrested for stealing classified materials from the National Reconnaissance Office. He had buried the materials in Virginia with the intention of selling them to Saddam Hussein or the Chinese government. The FBI dug up the materials following Regan’s plea agreement in 2003. Details
July 2002: Enron Corp. chairman and CEO Kenneth L. Lay is charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements. Lay was convicted in 2006 and died while awaiting sentencing. Details
December 2001: Ten Most Wanted fugitive Clayton Lee Waagner is arrested in Springdale, Ohio. A copy center clerk recognized him from a photo on a wanted poster and called police. He was found guilty two years later of making threats to employees of reproductive clinics. Details
December 2001: FBI opens investigation of collapse of Enron. The five-year investigation was at the time the largest and most complex white-collar cases in FBI history. Details
September 2001: Ana Montes, an employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is charged in a FBI complaint with conspiracy to deliver U.S. national defense information to Cuba. Details