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Jun 09, 2015 12:30 PM

The Case of the Corrupt Coin Dealer

Inside the case of a rare coin and precious metals dealer who stole from his elderly clients.

The Case of the Corrupt Coin Dealer

Gold Coins
Financial fraud comes in all shapes and sizes. And while corporate criminals, inside traders, and Ponzi schemers often cause their victims to lose millions of dollars, the case of the crooked coin dealer from New York illustrates that even relatively small-time fraudsters must answer for their crimes.

Chrysanthos Nicholas, a 55-year-old rare coin and precious metals dealer, will be spending the next 27 months in federal prison for stealing more than $260,000 from some of his elderly customers.

Full story

Jun 05, 2015 10:00 AM

Serial Armed Robber Gets Substantial Prison Term

A series of armed robberies of businesses—one of which ended with a customer getting shot—sparked a joint law enforcement effort that resulted in getting a dangerous criminal off the streets for a ...

Serial Armed Robber Gets Substantial Prison Term

It was a highly effective combination of local and federal resources. A 38-year-old man was identified by local police as the suspect in a series of frightening armed robberies of businesses in the Birmingham, Alabama area, one of which ended with a customer getting shot. Local authorities contacted the FBI’s Birmingham Field Office with a request for assistance—they wanted to see if their suspect could be charged under the federal Hobbs Act, taking advantage of its harsher penalties.

The multi-agency investigation that followed led to this particular suspect—Jamey Lee Matthews—pleading guilty to four counts of robbery under the Hobbs Act. And just last month, he received a 25-year federal prison term. The judge also ordered him to pay $208,000 in restitution to the man he shot and to the stores he robbed.

Full story

Jun 04, 2015 06:15 PM

FBI Investigating OPM Cyber Intrusion

The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion affecting the information technology and data systems of the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, or OPM.

FBI Investigating OPM Cyber Intrusion

The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion affecting the information technology and data systems of the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, or OPM.

In a June 4 press release notifying federal employees of the incident, OPM said the agency has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to determine the intrusion’s full impact on federal personnel. OPM said it will send notifications to approximately four million individuals whose personal information may have been compromised.

OPM’s press release included guidance for affected individuals, as well as tips to avoid becoming a victim.

In a June 4 statement confirming its role in the investigation, the FBI said, “We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”

OPM press release | FBI statement

Jun 03, 2015 12:00 PM

Counterterrorism Executive Briefs Congress on Latest Threats

Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, appearing today before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee, discussed “the widespread reach of terrorists’ influence, which transcends ...

Counterterrorism Executive Briefs Congress on Latest Threats

Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, appearing today before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee, discussed “the widespread reach of terrorists’ influence, which transcends geographic boundaries like never before” as a result of terrorists’ continuing use of technology to communicate and to recruit.

According to Steinbach, the FBI continues to focus on identifying individuals trying to join the ranks of foreign fighters traveling in support of ISIL and homegrown violent extremists who may aspire to attack America from within. Both threats are high priorities for the Bureau and for the U.S. Intelligence Community as a whole. But we are challenged by the widespread and aggressive use of the Internet and social media by terror groups—and in particular, by ISIL, which has “constructed a narrative that touches on all facets of life—from career opportunities to family life to a sense of community.” And while there is no set profile for the “susceptible consumer of this propaganda,” Steinbach said that one trend continues to rise—the inspired youth.

He also talked about the Going Dark issue—especially as it relates to terrorism—as some of the online conversations between terrorists and those they are targeting for recruitment take place through private messaging platforms. Going Dark refers to the gap between the laws and technology designed to allow for the lawful intercept of communications content by law enforcement and the changing forms of Internet communications. Steinbach explained, “It’s imperative that the FBI and all law enforcement organizations understand the latest communication tools and are positioned to identify and prevent terror attacks in the homeland.”

Full testimony

Jun 02, 2015 04:00 PM

Financial Fraud

Like many successful con men, William C. Lange made people believe that he really cared about them—even as he looked them in the eye and took their money. But Lange and his co-conspirators operated ...

Financial Fraud

Like many successful con men, William C. Lange made people believe that he really cared about them—even as he looked them in the eye and took their money. But Lange and his co-conspirators operated two companies that were based on lies—and the lies caught up with him: The 67-year-old Washington state businessman was recently sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for swindling more than 300 investors in the U.S. and overseas out of $10 million.

Full story

May 29, 2015 03:45 PM

Taken for a Ride

The trip to Hawaii for 270 high school band members and their chaperones was supposed to be the crescendo of months of performances, fundraisers, and saving to book the arrangements. But the music ...

Taken for a Ride

Tuba Players


The trip to Hawaii for 270 high school band members and their chaperones was supposed to be the crescendo of months of performances, fundraisers, and saving to book the arrangements. But the music stopped when the band’s travel agent admitted he’d duped them to the tune of more than $272,000.

Full story

May 27, 2015 11:15 AM

International Soccer Officials Indicted

The U.S. government this morning unsealed indictments in a New York federal court against high-ranking officials and corporate executives affiliated with FIFA, the governing body of international ...

International Soccer Officials Indicted

Soccer Ball on Field


The U.S. government this morning unsealed indictments in a New York federal court against high-ranking officials and corporate executives affiliated with FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, for their roles in a decades-long scheme to corrupt the sport through bribes, kickbacks, and other criminal activity aimed at controlling lucrative marketing rights to international tournaments such as the World Cup.

 Nine FIFA officials—including two current vice presidents—along with five corporate executives were charged with racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering, among other offenses.

Full story

May 22, 2015 12:30 PM

FBI Releases New Version of Child ID App

The FBI today is announcing a reboot of its popular Child ID App, which provides parents with an easy way to electronically store their children’s pictures and vital information to have on hand in ...

FBI Releases New Version of Child ID App

Child ID App LogoThe FBI today is announcing a reboot of its popular Child ID App, which provides parents with an easy way to electronically store their children’s pictures and vital information to have on hand in case their kids go missing.

The application, which works on most Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, allows users to store up-to-date images and physical descriptions—like height, weight, birthmarks, etc.—that could help responders in the event of an emergency. The information is stored only on your device—not with your mobile provider or the FBI.

The latest version of the Child ID App contains updated features, including high-resolution image capability, a default recipient field (where you can enter your local police department’s e-mail address, for example), and optional automatic reminders to update your children’s profiles.

Current users of the Child ID App are encouraged to download the latest version for improved performance and capabilities. Please note that if you had been using an older version of the app (prior to 2.0), you will need to re-enter all relevant information after installing the update.

The app has been downloaded more than 250,000 times since it was released, first on iTunes in 2011 and then for the Android operating system in 2012. The current version, released in April, has been downloaded more than 50,000 times onto devices around the world.

The Child ID App also includes tips on keeping children safe as well as specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing.

For more information and to download:

May 20, 2015 04:45 PM

Director Discusses Encryption, Patriot Act Provisions

FBI Director James Comey spoke to legal professionals and scholars this week at the American Law Institute and Georgetown University Law Center about cyber threats and the FBI’s abilities to counter ...

Director Discusses Encryption, Patriot Act Provisions

FBI Director James Comey spoke to legal professionals and scholars this week about cyber threats and the FBI’s abilities to counter and investigate those evolving threats.

In remarks at the American Law Institute on Tuesday and at a cyber security summit on Wednesday at Georgetown University Law Center, Comey said the group calling itself the Islamic State, or ISIL, represents the FBI’s most urgent threat. He described the organization’s use of social media to motivate troubled people in the United States to engage in acts of violence—either by traveling to the so-called caliphate or killing where they are. Comey said ISIL reaches out to individuals on Twitter and elsewhere, then moves their more sensitive communications to encrypted platforms.

“The threat we face has morphed,” Comey said on Wednesday. “It’s a chaotic spider web through social media—increasingly invisible to us because the operational communications are happening in an encrypted channel.”

Comey later elaborated on the issue of encryption, which is a process of encoding messages—on mobile phones for example—that only authorized parties can access. While it can be effective at thwarting digital thieves, strong encryption also limits the amount of information—or evidence—that law enforcement can effectively gather from a device.

“Increasingly we’re finding ourselves unable to read what we find, or unable to open a device,” Comey said, “and that is a serious concern.”

The issue of “going dark,” as the Bureau calls it, is worthy of a larger public conversation about the balance between privacy and public safety, Comey said. Momentum toward universal encryption, he explained, may have unintended consequences.

“As all of our lives become digital, the logic of encryption is all of our lives will be covered by strong encryption, and therefore all of our lives—including the lives of criminals and terrorists and spies—will be in a place that is utterly unavailable to court-ordered process,” he said. “And that, I think, to a democracy should be very, very concerning.”

The Director also pointed to provisions of the Patriot Act of 2001 that, if allowed to expire on June 1, could hobble the FBI’s investigative abilities. One of the provisions is Section 215, which authorized the National Security Agency’s database of telephony records and metadata.

Comey said the FBI relies on that provision fewer than 200 times a year—in particular cases to get particular records. “If we lose that authority,” Comey said, “we can’t get information that I think everybody wants us to attain.”

Two other provisions include:

  • Roving wiretaps. The FBI has had authority since the 1980s to use legally authorized roving wiretaps in criminal cases—allowing authorities to follow surveillance targets rather than their phones, which can be easily trashed and replaced. The Patriot Act extended that authority to terrorism and counterintelligence cases.
  • The Lone Wolf provision. In 2004, Congress amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to authorize intelligence gathering on individuals not affiliated with any known terrorist organization.

“These three are going to go away June 1,” Comey said, “and I don’t want them to get lost in the conversation about metadata.”

May 20, 2015 12:45 PM

Five Major Banks Agree to Plead Guilty to Felony Charges

Agreements by Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, and UBS AG to plead guilty to felony charges were announced today by the FBI, the Department of Justice, ...

Five Major Banks Agree to Plead Guilty to Felony Charges

Agreements by Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, and UBS AG to plead guilty to felony charges were announced today by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Four of the banks—Citicorp, JPMorgan, Barclays, and RBS—have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the foreign currency exchange spot market and will pay criminal fines totaling $2.5 billion. According to Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer, “The dollar-euro spot market is as big as it gets. Every day, about $500 billion worth of dollars and euros are traded in this market. Trading on the dollar-euro spot market is five times larger than all U.S. stock exchanges combined.”

The fifth bank, UBS, agreed to plead guilty and pay a $203 million criminal penalty for breaching the non-prosecutive agreement it had previously entered regarding manipulation of the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR), a benchmark interest rate used worldwide.

The investigation, conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office (WFO), uncovered illegal activity that began as early as December 2007. Currency traders from four of the banks—self-described members of “The Cartel”—used an exclusive electronic chat room and coded language to manipulate exchange rates. The result of their actions inflated the banks’ profits while harming countless consumers, investors, and institutions around the globe. Said WFO’s Assistant Director in Charge Andrew McCabe, “This investigation represents another step in the FBI’s ongoing efforts to find and stop those responsible for complex financial schemes for their own personal benefit.”

In addition to paying large criminal fines, all five banks have agreed to a three-year period of corporate probation which, if approved by the court, will require regular reporting to authorities. The banks will continue cooperating in the ongoing investigation, and the plea agreements don’t preclude the prosecution of individuals for related misconduct.

The case, said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, serves as a reminder that the U.S. government intends to “vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor, who subvert our marketplaces, and who enrich themselves at the expense of American consumers.”