These crimes are not violent, but they are not victimless. White-collar crimes can destroy a company, wipe out a person's life savings, cost investors billions of dollars, and erode the public's trust in institutions.
The FBI's white-collar crime program focuses on analyzing intelligence and solving complex investigations—often with a connection to organized crime activities. Our white-collar crime investigations can be regional, national, and/or international.
The FBI works closely with partner law enforcement and regulatory agencies like:
- the Securities and Exchange Commission
- the Internal Revenue Service
- the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
- the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
- the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
Money laundering is turning “dirty” money “clean” by making it look like money from crimes actually came from legitimate sources.
Money laundering allows criminals to:
- hide and accumulate wealth
- avoid prosecution
- avoid taxes
- increase profits through reinvestment
- fund further criminal activity
The FBI focuses its efforts on money laundering facilitation—targeting professional money launderers, key facilitators, gatekeepers, and complicit financial institutions, among others.
Criminals who engage in money laundering derive their proceeds through:
- Complex financial crimes
- Health care fraud
- Human trafficking
- International and domestic public corruption
- Narcotics trafficking
Criminals use a number of tools to launder money, including:
- Financial institutions
- International trade
- Precious metals
- Real estate
- Third party service providers
- Virtual currency
There are three steps in the money laundering process—placement, layering, and integration:
- Placement is the criminal entering money into the financial system.
- Layering is the most complex and often involves moving money internationally. Layering separates the criminal’s money from the original source and creates a complex audit trail through a series of financial transactions.
- Integration occurs when the criminal’s proceeds are returned to them from what appear to be legitimate sources.
The FBI regularly coordinates with other law enforcement agencies, international partners, and industry to detect and disrupt money laundering.
The creation of complex investment vehicles and the tremendous increase in the amount of money being invested have created greater opportunities for individuals and businesses to create fraudulent investment schemes.
To investigate and help prevent fraudulent activity in the financial markets, the Bureau works closely with various government and private organizations to investigate securities and commodities fraud.
Financial institution fraud happens when criminals target banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Many schemes involve compromising customers' accounts or personal information. Embezzlement and misapplication of funds are two common financial institution fraud crimes in FBI investigations. Sometimes, fraud can be severe enough to cause the failure of a bank or credit union.
Mortgage fraud happens when someone lies to influence a bank's mortgage decision or if a distressed homeowner is the victim of a fraud.
There are two areas of mortgage fraud:
- Fraud for profit: This type of fraud involves professionals in the home buying process stealing cash and equity from lenders and homeowners. These types of cases area priority for the FBI.
- Fraud for housing: This fraud happens when borrowers lie about their incomes or assets on a loan application or influence an appraiser to manipulate a property's value.
The FBI works with partners to investigate mortgage and financial institution fraud cases. The FBI participates in task forces that share intelligence, de-conflict cases, and create joint investigations.
Asset forfeiture is a powerful tool used by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, against criminals and criminal organizations to deprive them of their ill-gotten gains through seizure of these assets.
A money mule is someone who transfers or moves illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else. Some money mules know they are supporting criminal enterprises; others are unaware that they are helping criminals profit. Don't be a mule.
White-Collar Crime News
- 11.29.2022 — Former Long Island School Official Pleads Guilty in Kickback Scheme
- 11.29.2022 — Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Customers Who Bought Cryptocurrency-Mining Computers and Miner Hosting Services
- 11.29.2022 — Greenwood Man Sentenced to Six Years in Federal Prison for Embezzling $14 Million from His Former Employer to Fund His Lavish Lifestyle
- 11.29.2022 — Houma Man Pleads Guilty in Staged Automobile Collision Scheme
- 11.29.2022 — Wisconsin Man Indicted for $35 Million Bank Fraud Scheme
- 11.29.2022 — Two Owners of New Jersey Pharmaceutical Marketing Company Admit Role in $38 Million Compounding Fraud Scheme
- 11.29.2022 — Former Rochester Housing Authority Chair Going to Prison for Fraud, Money Laundering, and Lying to the FBI
- 11.28.2022 — Fresno Man Charged in Over $4 Million Ponzi and COVID-19 Benefits Fraud Schemes
- 11.28.2022 — Fayette County Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud Related to COVID-19 Relief
- 11.28.2022 — Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud in Maine and Oregon and Illegal Gun Possession in Florida