April 4, 2012

Major Financial Crime

Using Intelligence and Partnerships to Fight Fraud Smarter

Director Mueller Addresses Miami Chamber of Commerce

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller addresses the Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Homeowners tricked into signing away the deeds to their own homes. The elderly and vulnerable used to make a fast and illegal buck, even by the very people who take care of them. Billions in hard-earned investor dollars vanishing in a seeming flash, sometimes through a single scam.

Financial crime is a real and insidious threat—one that takes a significant toll on the economy and its many victims. Today, Director Robert S. Mueller talked about the impact of financial crime and the Bureau’s longstanding role in combating it in a keynote speech before the Miami Chamber of Commerce.

The Director explained that even in the post-9/11 world—with its needed focus on terrorism and other national security threats—the FBI continues to take its criminal responsibilities seriously. “What has changed,” he said, “is that we make greater use of intelligence and partnerships to better focus our limited resources where we can have the greatest impact—for example, on combating large-scale financial fraud.”

It’s all about working smarter—using new information-sharing efforts, intelligence-driven investigations, and task force-based approaches to leverage the talents and resources within and among agencies to get a bigger bang for the buck, so to speak, in fighting financial fraud.

Among the innovations and initiatives outlined by the Director:

  • Three years ago, we established the Financial Intelligence Center to strengthen our financial intelligence collection and analysis. “This center helps us to see the entire picture of financial crimes. It provides tactical analysis of financial intelligence data, identifies potential criminal enterprises, and enhances investigations. It also coordinates with FBI field offices to complement their resources and to identify emerging economic threats.”
  • Today, we have more than 500 agents and analysts using intelligence to identify emerging health care fraud schemes, and field offices target fraud through coordinated initiatives, task forces and strike teams, and undercover operations.
  • The Miami office has led the way by creating the first Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which is now a national initiative. Through the strike force, the Bureau works closely with federal, state, local, and private sector partners to uncover fraud and recover taxpayer funds. “Last year, our combined efforts returned $4.1 billion dollars to the U.S. Treasury, to Medicare, and to other victims of fraud.”
  • As the result of a new forensic accountant program, we now have 250 forensic accountants “trained to catch financial criminals” and “ready to respond quickly to high-profile financial investigations across the country.”
  • In the last four years, we have nearly tripled the number of special agents investigating mortgage fraud. “Our agents and analysts are using intelligence, surveillance, computer analysis, and undercover operations to identify emerging trends and to find the key players behind large-scale mortgage fraud.”
  • In 2010, the FBI began embedding agents at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “This allows us to see tips about securities fraud as they come into the SEC’s complaint center…to identify fraud trends more quickly and to push intelligence to our field offices.”

Everyone has a role in fighting fraud, including business and community leaders. “You can learn to recognize financial fraud and unscrupulous business practices, to better protect yourself and your companies,” Mueller said. “And you can alert us when you see these activities take place.”

Please do. To report fraud, visit our tips page or contact your nearest FBI office.

- Read the Director’s Speech