A key focus of the FBI’s work is on combating white collar crime and protecting its victims, who range from companies to individuals and society as a whole.
This work is facilitated by key partnerships with a wide range of agencies to benefit from their experience in specific areas such as securities, taxes, pensions, energy, and commodities.
The Bureau operates task forces and working groups together with other law enforcement and regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Internal Revenue Service, to help disrupt and dismantle significant large-scale criminal enterprises.
We take a look at how the FBI approaches white collar crime, as outlined on its website.
Which white collar crimes does the FBI investigate?
The FBI investigates a wide range of white collar and corporate crimes including:
- Corporate fraud.
- Money laundering.
- Securities and commodities fraud.
- Mortgage fraud.
- Financial institution fraud.
- Bank fraud and embezzlement.
- Fraud against the government.
- Election law violations.
- Mass marketing fraud.
- Health care fraud.
The FBI places particular focus on a number of key areas including corporate fraud, money laundering, and securities and commodities fraud.
The FBI is the lead agency investigating corporate fraud in the U.S., and focuses its efforts on cases that involve:
- Falsification of financial information – e.g. accounting schemes to deceive investors, fraudulent trades designed to inflate profits/hide losses, and illicit transactions designed to evade regulatory oversight.
- Self-dealing by corporate executives – e.g. insider trading and misuse of corporate property for personal gain.
- Obstruction of justice – e.g. interfering in investigations.
Money laundering is often performed in conjunction with white collar crimes such as financial crimes and corruption, as well as other crimes such as terrorism and human trafficking. Criminals launder illicit proceeds using a range of methods including virtual currency, third party service providers, financial institutions and real estate.
The FBI focuses its efforts on money laundering facilitation, targeting professional money launderers, key facilitators, gatekeepers, and complicit financial institutions, among others.
International cooperation is essential to the Bureau in conducting effective money laundering investigations that involve cross-border financial transactions. It also cooperates with domestic law enforcement agencies to detect and deter the money laundering threat in the U.S.
Securities and commodities fraud
An increasing number of Americans are choosing to invest in the U.S. securities and commodities markets, creating opportunities for fraud and criminal misconduct in these markets.
The most prevalent types of securities and commodities fraud schemes include:
- Investment fraud – e.g. ponzi and pyramid schemes. Perpetrators range from professional investment advisers to anyone a victim trusts, such as a neighbour.
- Promissory note fraud – utilises short-term debt instruments promising a high rate of return with little or no risk.
- Commodities fraud – involves the illegal sale of raw materials or semi-finished goods – anything from coffee to gold.
- Broker embezzlement – illicit and unauthorised actions by brokers to steal directly from their clients.
- Market manipulation – “pump and dump” schemes.