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Feb 01, 2016 04:00 PM

Tracking Animal Cruelty

Acts of cruelty against animals are now counted alongside felony crimes like arson, burglary, assault, and homicide in the FBI’s expansive criminal database.

Tracking Animal Cruelty

Acts of cruelty against animals are now counted alongside felony crimes like arson, burglary, assault, and homicide in the FBI’s expansive criminal database.

On January 1, the Bureau’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) began collecting detailed data from participating law enforcement agencies on acts of animal cruelty, including gross neglect, torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse. Before this year, crimes that involved animals were lumped into an “All Other Offenses” category in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s annual Crime in the United States report, a survey of crime data provided by about 18,000 city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies.

By adding animal cruelty offenses to NIBRS, law enforcement agencies and the advocacy groups that pushed for the inclusion in the FBI database are hoping the results will reveal a more complete picture of the nature of cruelty to animals.

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Jan 28, 2016 04:30 PM

Training Together

Today’s special agents and intelligence analysts graduating from the FBI Academy are beginning their first assignments fully prepared for collaborative work in the field thanks to the Basic Field ...

Training Together

Today’s special agents and intelligence analysts graduating from the FBI Academy are beginning their first assignments fully prepared for collaborative work in the field thanks to an innovative training program launched in 2015.

Dubbed the Basic Field Training Course (BFTC), the new program offers an integrated curriculum that places new agent and intelligence analyst trainees together in a squad-like environment—the way agents and analysts work in actual FBI field offices. During the course, trainees learn skills like conducting investigations, interviewing, and providing briefings. Their academic training culminates with criminal and counterterrorism exercises modeled after real-world scenarios.

“The BFTC serves as an important element of our continued efforts to improve collaboration throughout the organization,” said Mark Morgan, assistant director of the Bureau’s Training Division. “From their first days in the FBI, special agents and intelligence analysts sit side-by-side, wear the same uniforms, and learn the necessity of working as a single, integrated, cohesive team. This is an exciting shift in the way we do things.”

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Jan 22, 2016 01:30 PM

Countering the Growing Intellectual Property Theft Threat

The FBI is part of a new Department of Justice strategy that involves partnering more closely with businesses in an effort to combat the increasing threat posed by criminals who steal trade secrets, ...

Countering the Growing Intellectual Property Theft Threat

Intellectual Property Theft Graphic


In 2008, a new federal law creating stricter penalties for criminals who engaged in intellectual property theft was enacted to keep pace with globalization, e-commerce, and technology advances.

Fast forward to 2016: Technological advances continue at an even faster pace, dramatically increasing the threat posed by criminals who steal trade secrets, produce and/or traffic in counterfeit products, and infringe on copyrights. One important factor in this increase is the global expansion of online marketplaces, which aids international and domestic criminal organizations in trafficking in counterfeit goods.

The Department of Justice recently announced a new strategy that involves partnering more closely with businesses in an effort to combat these types of crimes more effectively. And the FBI—working with its investigative partners at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center—will play an integral part in this strategy.

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Jan 19, 2016 06:00 PM

Director Comey Participates in MLK Memorial Ceremony

FBI Director James Comey joined fellow FBI leaders and other government officials and community members on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall on Monday to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther ...

Director Comey Participates in MLK Memorial Ceremony

FBI Director James Comey joined fellow FBI leaders and other government officials and community members on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall on Monday to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

With the 30-foot statue of the iconic leader as his backdrop, Comey provided remarks during a wreath-laying ceremony sponsored by The Memorial Foundation. Comey began his speech by highlighting the memorial as an important aspect of the training provided by the FBI Academy.

“Special agents and intelligence analysts now visit the memorial during their training, where they study Dr. King as part of their curriculum,” Comey said to ceremony attendees. “It serves as an example of constraint and oversight in the history of the FBI and Dr. King.”

The Director also took the opportunity in his speech to reference a current divide between police agencies and the communities they assist, particularly communities of color.

“I imagine two lines—one is law enforcement and the other is the communities we serve and protect,” Comey said. “Those lines are never together, and I feel them arcing apart in American life.”

One way to develop closer ties, Comey suggests, is for law enforcement personnel and communities to develop deeper consideration for one another.

“We have to understand that all of us—law enforcement and non-law enforcement—carry with us an implicit bias,” he said. “We react differently to a face that looks different than our own. We have to stare at that and own that.”

After speaking, Comey joined the ceremony procession in laying a wreath at the foot of King’s statue, which features text from the famed 1963 I Have a Dream speech.

“If Dr. King were alive today, he would tell us we have to get closer to each other, to open our hearts and our minds to see each other clearly,” Comey said as he closed his remarks.

Jan 19, 2016 04:45 PM

Financial Fraud: The Disney Resort That Never Was

A Texas man received prison time for convincing investors that he had inside information about a new Disney resort to be built near Dallas. The resort was actually fictitious, and his victims were ...

Financial Fraud: The Disney Resort That Never Was

Thomas W. Lucas, Jr. was such an effective liar that he was able to convince hundreds of investors—even members of his own family—that he had inside information about a Disney resort to be built in Texas that would make the nearby scrubland worth a fortune for those who bought it ahead of time.

Of course, there was no “Frontier Disney,” as Lucas claimed, but using false documents, forged signatures, and phony presentations, he was able to pocket nearly $450,000 in real estate fees over a four-year period and cause investors to lose approximately $20 million.

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Jan 19, 2016 09:00 AM

Preliminary 2015 Crime Stats Released

The FBI’s latest Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, which contains data from January to June of 2015, revealed overall declines in the number of property crimes and overall increases in the ...

Preliminary 2015 Crime Stats Released

Preliminary Semiannual UCR 2015 LogoThe FBI’s latest Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, which contains data from January to June of 2015, revealed overall declines in the number of property crimes and overall increases in the number of violent crimes reported by law enforcement when compared to figures from the same time in 2014. According to the report, property crime was down 4.2 percent overall from 2014, and violent crime was up 1.7 percent overall.

The publication features four tables—three which detail the percent change in offenses reported to law enforcement by population group, by region of the country, and by consecutive years back to 2011. The fourth table contains the number of offenses reported to law enforcement, by state, in cities with populations of more than 100,000.

The full Crime in the United States, 2015 report will be released later this year.

Jan 11, 2016 12:00 PM

Human Trafficking Prevention Month: Raising Awareness of a Devastating Crime

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and the FBI’s efforts to combat trafficking—part of the overall U.S. government effort—will continue unabated in 2016.

Human Trafficking Prevention Month: Raising Awareness of a Devastating Crime

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and the FBI’s efforts to combat trafficking—part of the overall U.S. government effort—will continue unabated in 2016.

The Bureau has two entities that conduct human trafficking investigations: Our Civil Rights Unit coordinates trafficking investigations involving both adult and juvenile foreign nationals who are forced or coerced into slave labor or sex trafficking, as well as adult victims of domestic sex trafficking; and our Violent Crimes Against Children Section coordinates investigations involving children under the age of 18 being sexually exploited domestically for commercial gain and those involving child sex tourism.

To combat the exploitation of foreign nationals, the FBI works with our law enforcement partners at the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor, and State to go after traffickers who prey on the vulnerabilities of people seeking a better life. These victims are forced to work in poor, unsafe conditions where they are exploited for prostitution, domestic servitude, migrant farm labor, or restaurant and service industry jobs.

The Bureau also continues to run Operation Cross Country (OCC), a national multi-agency law enforcement operation dedicated to the identification and recovery of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation and the identification and arrest of individuals and criminal enterprises responsible for their exploitation. This past October, during our ninth OCC, the FBI and its partners recovered approximately 150 child victims and arrested approximately 150 pimps, which brought the total number of recovered child victims to more than 750 and the criminals responsible to more than 1,000 since OCC began. Also last year, Bureau worked closely with Canadian authorities on their own version of OCC called Operation Northern Spotlight.

The FBI, however, goes beyond investigating those who exploit victims of trafficking. The Bureau’s Office for Victim Assistance (OVA) and its 153 victim specialists located throughout our field offices work with non-governmental agencies and local law enforcement advocates to advise human trafficking survivors of their rights as crime victims and also to ensure that basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, mental health care, and clothing are taken care of. Our victim specialists provide assistance and information regarding legal services, immigration relief, housing, employment, education, and job training, and they also work with U.S. Attorneys’ offices and often local district attorney’s offices during the prosecutive phases of cases. Additionally, OVA employs 11 full-time child/adolescent forensic interviewers who are available to conduct interviews of younger victims as well as adult victims in complex cases or when there’s a special need.

Jan 07, 2016 01:00 PM

Transnational Gangs: Understanding the Threat

Transnational Gangs: Understanding the Threat

Since 2009, the FBI and the U.S. Department of State have sponsored the Central American Law Enforcement Exchange (CALEE), which brings Central American police officers and prosecutors together with law enforcement personnel from U.S. cities where violent gangs like MS-13 and 18th Street operate.

This is the first of a three-part series that looks at how cooperative efforts are yielding mutual benefits in the fight against transnational gangs.

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Jan 04, 2016 01:40 PM

Fool’s Gold

The recent announcement that federal authorities have returned nearly $12 million in recovered losses to more than 1,000 victims of an elaborate fraud scheme represents still another cautionary ...

Fool’s Gold

Gold bars (stock)

The recent announcement that federal authorities have returned nearly $12 million in recovered losses to more than 1,000 victims of an elaborate fraud scheme represents still another cautionary reminder that all that glitters is not gold.

For nearly seven years, Goldfinger Coin & Bullion operated a website, e-Bullion.com, that purported to provide an easy way for customers to invest in precious metals. With gold’s market value steadily rising, the operation seemed like a lucrative bet. But as investigators discovered, the company was doing much more than trading in precious metals. Without a license, Goldfinger was operating almost solely as a money-transmitter, earning owners Jim and Pamela Fayed millions from fees on users’ transactions. 

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Dec 31, 2015 10:00 AM

Methamphetamine Operation Dismantled

A federal judge recently sentenced the last two of 34 Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang members to prison for their roles in a methamphetamine drug distribution network.

Methamphetamine Operation Dismantled

Methamphetamine in Ziploc bag (stock image)

In multiple Central Texas counties near Waco and Fort Hood, crime was spiking—burglaries, property crimes, arsons, assaults, firearms thefts, even homicides—and when local authorities compared notes, they realized that a significant part of the crime problem resulted from the meth trade.

A federal judge recently sentenced the last two of 34 Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang members to prison for their roles in a methamphetamine drug distribution network, marking the end of the gang’s foothold in Central Texas—and also highlighting the extraordinary partnership between local, state, and federal law enforcement that brought the criminals to justice.

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