old saw about Willie Sutton saying he robbed banks "because
that's where the money is"? Turns out a reporter coined
the phrase to round out a story about Sutton. But Willie,
born in Brooklyn in 1901, stood by the quote... and the substance
of it is just as true with today's 21st century bank frauds:
our modern financial institutions are targeted by criminals
and organized crime groups... because "that's where the
the FBI's FY
2003 Financial Institution Fraud and Failure (FIF) Report,
just made public on this site. It shows that the FBI had more
than 6,000 cases open this year.
kinds of FIF cases? All kinds. Identity theft. Check fraud.
Counterfeit negotiable instruments. Check kiting. Mortgage
and loan fraud. Insider fraud. Financial institution failures.
And they are some of the most demanding, difficult, and time
consuming cases in all of law enforcement. All those numbers.
All those layers of accounting in accounts that aren't centralized.
All those transactions that can be hidden against a backdrop
of genuine transactions that give them an appearance of legitimacy.
For example, in this year's line up:
woman defrauded a bank of $1.3 million by submitting fraudulent
invoices and other documents that let her deplete a million-dollar
line of credit with non-existent assets. Guilty and sentenced.
bank folded because its chairman and board of directors
embezzled its money and falsified records to conceal it.
This year the last director -- a fugitive from justice--was
arrested upon re-entering the U.S. Guilty and sentenced.
man was arrested after trying to withdraw 4 cashiers checks
from a bank...and found to be part of an organized Vietnamese
gang and involved in a wider scheme in other cities. Guilty
and convicted, awaiting sentencing.
man involved his company into so many layers of commercial
loan fraud that when the company defaulted on its overstated
line of credit, the loss was $15 million. Guilty and sentenced.
does the future of FIF hold? Change -- and lots of it.
Criminals interested in siphoning money out of our banks and
other financial institutions famously adapt to the times.
For example, in the 1980s, it was bank insider abuse. In the
early 1990s, it was the savings & loan crisis. Now it
is major fraud schemes launched by "outsider" criminals.
the future: As financial institutions become less regulated
and provide more financial services to the public through
the sale of insurance, securities, investment products, and
on-line banking, you can bet our investigations will change
2003 FIF Report | White Collar Crime page | Press