“Massive Frauds” on the Rise
An FBI official recently reported to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that the bureau has uncovered “massive frauds” in its continuing effort to fight financial crime. Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, reported that new corporate fraud cases, including newly identified Ponzi schemes, are up by 111 percent. In addition, high-yield securities frauds have grown by more than 200 percent.
Several high-profile securities fraud cases have surfaced in just the past few months alone. In June, former chairman of Taylor, Bean, and Whitaker, a large mortgage origination company, was charged with a $1.9 billion fraud that contributed to the failure of Colonial Bank, one the United State’s largest banks and the sixth-largest bank failure in the country. In July, a managing partner at WG Trading and Westridge Capital Management pleaded guilty to his participation in a $700 million scheme that defrauded charitable and university foundations as well as pension and retirement plans. In September, the owner and former chief executive officer of Capitol Investments pleaded guilty to an $880 million Ponzi Scheme involving his New Jersey Firm.
Perkins also reported that in the last three years, the number of mortgage fraud cases seen by the FBI has steadily climbed from 1,200 in 2007 to over 3,000 in 2010. Of these cases, nearly 70 percent represent losses to financial institutions and other victims exceeding $1 million. In many of these cases, according to Perkins, “the loss far exceeds $1 million.” In response to the growing number of mortgage fraud schemes, the government has undertaken “Operation Stolen Dreams”, a take-down of mortgage fraud schemes throughout the country by President Obama’s interagency Financial Fraud Task Force.
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