A new Complex Prosecutions and Investigations Division in the King County prosecutor’s officed in Seattle will handle cases that often require specialized know-how and time, including identity theft, mortgage and insurance fraud, elder abuse, computer offenses, and organized crime, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Until now, as police and prosecutors pursued more straightforward violent crimes, such cases could easily be pushed aside.
Launched this month, it comes as the FBI has been investigating fewer financial crimes because most of its agents are working in counterterrorism squads, leaving some victims feeling as if they have nowhere to turn. “The biggest benefit is going to be expanding the group of victims we can help,” said prosecutor Kathy Van Olst, head of the new division. Prosecutors will work with police on developing cases against people suspected of fraud and other financial crimes with losses ranging from a few hundred dollars to millions. They expect to handle about 1,000 cases a year.