FBI Targeting Fraud Overseas

February 15th, 2016 by

Fraud

FBI Headquarters

The Justice Department is demanding transparency from corporations as it tracks down overseas fraud cases. 

A bevy of FBI agents and attorneys huddled into specialized anti-fraud units and backed by the billions seized from criminal organizations, have been assigned to investigations in Asia, Africa and South America.

The investigative teams have been imploring corporations to volunteer information, but have made it clear that they are not shy about using other tactics.

These proposed tactics include the employment of wiretaps and informants which have proven to be effective means of attaining information in the past.

Several years ago, investigators, operating under the banner of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, used the aforementioned tactics to bring about the our country’s largest crackdown on insider trading. FBI agents methodically dismantled dozens of corrupt trading rings, jarring Wall Street in the process.

“We’ve had significant success in recent public corruption cases where it’s easy to play the tape and prove the crime. Why wouldn’t we take advantage of that now when doing FCPA cases?” said George Khouzami, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York office.

Prosecuting Fraud Cases

Between the years 2005 and 2015, officials managed to seize $4 billion in fines from foreign firms, and $1.8 billion in fines from American companies who violated the FCPA mandate which prohibits companies from paying bribes to win overseas contracts. The Justice Department, however, has seen less success in its prosecution of individuals.

Only 80 individuals have been prosecuted since 2005 and according to Khouzami, the lack of success can be attributed to a lack of resources. This time around, there will be 40 FBI agents and attorneys on the job.

“It will be the largest it’s ever been in the fraud section’s history,” said Andrew Weissmann, Chief of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

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