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What We Investigate

What We Investigate

 The FBI works around the globe to combat the most dangerous criminal and security threats facing our country—from international and domestic terrorists to spies on U.S. soil…from cyber villains to corrupt government officials…from mobsters to violent street thugs…from child predators to serial killers.

Members of the Jacksonville Evidence Response Team, including an officer from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department, transport surveying equipment back to a helicopter that was flown to the scene of a double homicide in the Ocala National Forest in 2006. Photo courtesy of The Gainesville Sun.

We currently have jurisdiction over violations in more than 200 categories of federal law. They generally fall under our three national security priorities and our five criminal priorities as follows:

National Security Priorities:

1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack

It’s our overriding priority—to head off terrorist attacks by identifying and disrupting the plots of international and domestic terrorist operatives and cells, by cutting off terrorist financing and undercutting other forms of support provided by terrorist sympathizers, by sharing information and intelligence with partners worldwide, and by providing strategic and operational threat analysis to decision makers and the wider intelligence community.

Our work locally is led by our Jacksonville Joint Terrorism Task Force, created in 1998 and strengthened in the days following the 9/11 attacks. The task force—made up of representatives of 40 local, state, and federal agencies—runs down any and all terrorism leads, develops and investigates cases, provides support for special events, and proactively identifies threats that may impact the area and the nation.

The work of the task forces is bolstered by the Jacksonville Field Intelligence Group, which centralizes and spearheads the analysis and sharing of terrorism-related intelligence (and intelligence on all major threats) both inside and outside the Bureau.

For more information on the FBI’s national efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, see our Counterterrorism webpage. And see our Press Room for current cases and our Jacksonville History page for past investigations.

2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage

Today, more foreign spies—not just traditional adversaries but also allies, hackers, and terrorists—are trying to steal more of our secrets from more places than ever before. What do they want? Our country’s juiciest classified information, of course—from military plans to national security vulnerabilities to our own intelligence activities. But increasingly, they also want our country’s trade secrets—innovations that give us a leg up in the global marketplace—and seemingly harmless technologies that could be used to develop or improve weapons of mass destruction.

In Jacksonville, we have a dedicated foreign counterintelligence squad that—in line with the FBI’s National Strategy for Counterintelligence—works to keep weapons of mass destruction and other embargoed technologies from falling into wrong hands, to protect secrets of the U.S. government (including the intelligence community) and critical national assets, and to help strengthen the national threat picture by proactively gathering information and intelligence. Our work includes knowing the key targets in our territory, developing strategic partnerships with area institutions, and disrupting the efforts of insiders and key nations.

For more information on the FBI’s national program, see our Counterintelligence webpage. And see our Press Room for current cases and our Jacksonville History page for past investigations.

3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes

The FBI leads the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism and espionage, computer and network intrusions, and major cyber fraud and identify theft. To stay in front of current and emerging trends, we gather and share information and intelligence with public and private sector partners worldwide.

In Jacksonville, we have a squad dedicated to cyber crimes and attacks, and we participate in a variety of multi-agency partnerships. See our Partnerships webpage for details.

For more information on the FBI’s national efforts, see our Cyber Investigations webpage. And see our Press Room for current cases and our Jacksonville History page for past investigations.

Criminal Priorities

4. Combat public corruption at all levels

Public corruption is a breach of the public’s trust by government officials—whether elected, appointed, or under contract—and/or private individuals who use their public office for personal gain. It is a violation of federal law for any federal or state government official to ask for or receive anything of value for or because of any official act. Under federal law, the person who offers or pays a bribe is also guilty. These crimes are the result of deals sealed with whispered conversations, quick handshakes, and “under-the-table” money. Because of the secretive nature of bribes, such crimes are often difficult to detect and even more difficult to prove without the assistance of concerned citizens. As a result, we have set up a public corruption hotline for public tips at 1-888-722-1225.

Types of public corruption include:

  • Law enforcement corruption at the state or local level typically involves the payment of bribes or kickbacks in exchange for official actions or inaction. It also includes any violation of law not necessarily connected to the official duties of law enforcement personnel, such as stealing drugs; tipping criminals to investigations; escorting deliveries of drugs or other contraband; protecting criminal enterprises, including drug organizations; embezzling funds; and releasing law enforcement records without authorization.
  • Legislative corruption at the state or local level usually involves payment of bribes or kickbacks in exchange for official action or inaction. These bribes or kickbacks can be received by the legislators themselves, by aides, by staff persons, and/or by outside parties doing business with the government.
  • Municipal corruption involves illegal activities similar to legislative corruption. Common corruption schemes at a local level include bribes or kickbacks in exchange for: supporting local ordinances, approving local government bond issuance, reducing taxes unlawfully, fraudulently manipulating probate assets, and conspiring with others to rezone property or to influence land-use proposals.
  • Judicial corruption typically arises out of the corrupt influencing of state or local judges, juries, or court personnel (clerks, bailiffs, probation officials, and other administrative staff). Common corrupt schemes include: payments to judiciary personnel in exchange for dismissal of charges; reduction of charges, bonds, or sentences; waiver of fines; return of forfeitable property; and favorable probation conditions.
  • Contract corruption usually involves the payment of bribes or kickbacks to local or state officials in exchange for favorable treatment on government contracts. Potential subjects are private contractors, anyone acting on their behalf, and public officials involved in the contracting process (procurement officers, purchasing agents, city council members, and county commissioners). Favorable treatment includes: improper disclosure of bid information; narrow tailoring of contracts to benefit a certain company (sole source contracts); improper disqualification of competitors from the bid process; support or voting for the bribing contractor; and approval of false invoices, improper change orders, or cost overruns on behalf of the bribing contractor.
  • Regulatory corruption involves payment to local, state, or federal officials in exchange for favorable action or inaction pertaining to identification documents, licensing, and inspection and zoning variances. Unlawful payments (bribes and kickbacks) can be paid to: inspectors for non-enforcement of violations or extortion for false violations; planning and zoning officials for improperly reclassifying property; public officials for fraudulent documents, such as driver’s licenses and passports; and licensing officials for fraudulent issuance of licenses to construction contractors, subcontractors, and other regulated industries.
  • Prison corruption involves corrections officers taking unlawful payment for acts directly or indirectly related to their job. Common schemes include: smuggling contraband into the facility, granting unlawful privileges, and prematurely releasing inmates.

For more information about what constitutes public corruption, see our questionnaires for contract corruption, economic stimulus, and government fraud. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you are strongly encouraged to call or e-mail the FBI.

For more information on the FBI’s national efforts, see our Public Corruption webpage. And see our Press Room for current cases and our Jacksonville History page for past investigations.

5. Protect civil rights

The FBI is the lead agency for investigating violations of federal civil rights laws…and we take that responsibility seriously. Specifically, we aggressively investigate and work to prevent hate crime, color of law abuses, human trafficking, and freedom of access to clinic entrances violations—the four top priorities of our civil rights program. We focus on all of these issues in Jacksonville.

For more information on our overall efforts, see our Civil Rights webpage. And see our Press Room for current cases and our Jacksonville History page for past investigations.

6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises

Criminal organizations—from mob families to street gangs to drug trafficking outfits—sow violence and crime in our communities and create underground economies that undercut free enterprise.

Most of our work in this priority throughout the Jacksonville Division focuses on violent gangs and drugs through a variety of law enforcement partnerships. See our Partnerships webpage for details.

Learn more about our national work to combat organized crime and violent street gangs. And see our Press Room for current cases and our Jacksonville History page for past investigations.

7. Combat major white-collar crime

Fraud—the art of deliberate deception for unlawful gain—is as old as history; the term “white-collar crime” was reportedly coined in 1939 and has since become synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. Today’s financial criminals and con artists are more savvy and sophisticated than ever, engineering everything from complex stock and health care frauds and intellectual property rip-offs.

We have two squads dedicated to fighting white-collar crime in the Jacksonville region. The first focuses generally on fraud; the second targets health care fraud.

For more information, see our White-Collar Crime webpage. And see our Press Room for current cases and our Jacksonville History page for past investigations.

8. Combat significant violent crime

Even with our post-9/11 national security responsibilities, we continue to play a key role in combating violent crime in big cities and local communities across the United States. Beyond our work targeting violent gangs and other criminal enterprises, we focus on such issues as crimes against children (including online predators), crime on Indian reservations, the search for wanted fugitives, serial killings, kidnapping, murder for hire, bank robberies, and special crimes like the carriage of weapons on aircraft and crime on the high seas.

In Jacksonville, we work closely with a host of law enforcement partners to address the full range of violent crimes. See our Partnerships webpage for details.

For more details on our overall national efforts, see our Violent Crime and Major Thefts webpage. And see our Press Room for current cases and our Jacksonville History page for past investigations.