G-Men in short supply as bailout fraud expected to rise
byFeb 14th 2009 10:00AM
Can we expect to see more investigations into the financial shenanigans at major companies a la Enron? The FBI seems to think so, but apparently there aren't enough agents to deal with the expected uptick in financial crime.
The FBI told Congress this week it expects an increase in fraud cases tied to the bailout, but the agency doesn't have enough resources to deal with it. The FBI and Justice Department are already conducting about 2,300 investigations into suspected illegal financial activity and 38 are directly tied to the financial crisis.
With all the bailout money being handed out, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said he expects a surge in fraud cases and that many of them will be at large companies "everybody knows about." A large number of federal agents and prosecutors have been focused on terrorism in recent years, so there aren't as many financial speialists available. In fact, only 240 agents are foused on mortgage fraud cases. Of course there's a scramble to find and train agents to handle the anticipated crush of cases.
Maybe they should hire some of the out-of-work economists having a tough time finding jobs. A Wall Street Journal article says that a lot of jobs for economists have disappeared at investment banks, hedge funds, and universities. Maybe they could round up a bunch of these out-of-work folks and train them as an elite force of financial fraud fighters.