The number of white-collar crime prosecutions is down 28 percent from five years ago, according to an analysis of federal data by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The reason is the government’s focus on homeland security, according to the Christian Science Monitor. In the same period that white-collar crime prosecutions fell, immigration prosecutions more than doubled. One former federal prosecutor told the paper that the FBI has moved personnel from fraud and white-collar crime units to terrorism units.
According to the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, the FBI had 2,385 agents engaged in fighting financial crimes in 2000. By 2004, that number had dropped to 1,882. “There’s always been a serious limitation of resources that has caused the government to focus on only the most egregious, large-scale fraudulent schemes,” says Christopher Bebel, former federal prosecutor and specialist in securities fraud. “This continuing diversion of resources toward perceived immigration and terrorism threats greatly heightens the dilemma associated with that problem.”