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FBI recommending fewer white-collar crime cases

September 24, 2013|By Walter Hamilton
  • Rengan Rajaratnam, right, founder of Sedna Capital Management LLC and younger brother of imprisoned hedge-fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, exits federal court with his attorney Vinoo Varghese in July. Rengan was charged for his alleged part in an insider trading scheme tied to his brother's fund the Galleon Group LLC.
Rengan Rajaratnam, right, founder of Sedna Capital Management LLC and… (Louis Lanzano / Bloomberg )

Why hasn’t anyone on Wall Street gone to prison for the 2008 financial crisis? Perhaps because the FBI is recommending far fewer white-collar prosecutions.

The FBI has recommended only 2,001 white-collar cases for criminal prosecution so far this fiscal year, on pace for a nearly 7% drop from last year, according to a report Tuesday by a research group affiliated with Syracuse University.

It would be one of the lowest years on record and would extend a years-long trend, according to government data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Typically, the FBI investigates potential wrongdoing and recommends cases to the Justice Department, where federal prosecutors make final decisions about whether to file cases.

Despite concerns about widespread wrongdoing on Wall Street, the number of white-collar prosecutions recommended by the FBI has plummeted 45.2% in the last decade, according to government data obtained by TRAC.

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It’s not for a lack of resources. The number of criminal investigators has risen, to 13,812 this year from 11,097 in 2001.

However, white-collar cases have fallen as the FBI has focused its efforts on fighting terrorism, according to the TRAC report.


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