Letter to the Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from Special Agent in Charge Roland J. Corvington
|FBI St. Louis November 12, 2009|
Mr. Gilbert Bailon
Editorial Page Editor
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
900 North Tucker Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Dear Mr. Bailon:
The following is the FBI’s response to Kevin Horrigan’s opinion piece entitled, “How the feds enable scam artists,” published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday, (11/1/09):
There are two major points in the article I desire to address. First, it is true the FBI does not have the resources to investigate every fraud allegation. The FBI, however, does not require at least $1 million in fraud before we initiate an investigation. Since October 2006, the St. Louis Division of the FBI investigated five mortgage fraud cases that had losses less than $1 million. One of those cases had losses less than $150,000. We consider a number of factors when determining whether to open an investigation.
Acting U.S. Attorney Michael W. Reap agrees that the $1 million loss guideline is not accurate. The guidelines on mortgage fraud investigation and prosecution are flexible. If insiders, such as appraisers, mortgage brokers, real estate speculators, title companies or lenders, are criminally liable, we will investigate and prosecute, if appropriate. Where warranted, the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO), Eastern District of Missouri, will also prosecute homebuyers who fraudulently obtain loans or refinance. The FBI and the USAO encourage all referrals. The FBI's receipt and analysis of mortgage fraud complaints enables a broader view and better understanding of mortgage fraud activity. Each complaint filed could potentially have a piece of information we need to stop scam artists from victimizing other people.
Secondly, the FBI takes exception to the headline, “How the feds enable scam artists.” Our Special Agents and Assistant U.S. Attorneys work together, dedicating long hours untangling complex investigations to bring scam artists to justice in an effort to prevent more victimization. The same can be said for our federal, state, and local law enforcement and regulatory partners.
Additionally, the USAO established a Mortgage Fraud Task Force with active participation by a number of law enforcement, regulatory and professional organizations. This task force has been in place for some time. Cases are generated by this task force for investigation and prosecution.
Roland J. Corvington
Special Agent in Charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
St. Louis Division