Mortgage fraud investigations are mounting as the economic crisis worsens, and FBI agents assigned to national security after the 9/11 attacks are “gradually moving back” to assist with fraud inquiries, says an FBI official’s testimony reported by USA Today. FBI Deputy Director John Pistole told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the number of mortgage fraud cases rose from 1,210 in fiscal year 2007 to 1,800 in fiscal 2008 and continues to climb. Pistole said there also are 530 pending corporate fraud investigations, including 38 cases “directly related” to the current crisis.
The 38 cases, Pistole said, involve large investigations on the level of the 2001 meltdown of U.S. energy giant Enron. The number of larger inquiries could rise into the “hundreds,” he said.
Rita Glavin, acting chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said the pending fraud investigations and the inquiries expected to rise out of the government’s economic stimulus program likely will increase pressure on federal law enforcement. About 1,000 agents were assigned to the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, far more than the 240 agents now working cases related to the financial collapse.