A few months ago, we noted that the FBI had quietly admitted that its primary function was no longer law enforcement (as it was supposed to be), but rather “national security.” Because fighting terrorism is hot. Putting bankers destroying the economy in jail? Not hot. As we noted at the time, the numbers showed that the FBI was putting a huge part of its budget towards “counterterrorism” (potentially doing much more to destroy your civil liberties than the NSA) and its efforts to take down white collar crime was dropping significantly.
A new report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General confirms this finding. It also notes that, despite President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder promising (yeah, I know…) that cracking down on “mortgage fraud” was a top priority, the FBI has actually put it near the bottom of the list of actual priorities. Say one thing, do another. That sounds mighty familiar…
“In cities across the country, mortgage fraud crimes have reached crisis proportions,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said at a mortgage fraud summit in Phoenix in 2010. “But we are fighting back.”
The inspector general’s report, however, shows that the F.B.I. considered mortgage fraud to be its lowest-ranked national criminal priority. In several large cities, including New York and Los Angeles, F.B.I. agents either ranked mortgage fraud as a low priority or did not rank it at all.
Oh, and even better, because of all the hype and talk about mortgage fraud, Congress allocated more budget specifically for that purpose, though it appears to have gone elsewhere.
And that’s not all. The DOJ then pretended that it had been fighting mortgage fraud and put on a whole presentation about its success — based on totally faulty numbers. Numbers that it was pretty sure were faulty — and then took nearly a year to admit that their claims of success were based on bogus stats:
We further found that, despite receiving significant additional funding from Congress to pursue mortgage fraud cases, the FBI in adding new staff did not always use these new positions to exclusively investigate mortgage fraud. Moreover, when we attempted to assess the effectiveness of the Department’s efforts in pursuing mortgage fraud cases, we found that DOJ could not provide readily verifiable data related to its criminal and civil enforcement efforts. The DOJ’s release of significantly flawed information at a highly publicized press conference in October 2012 regarding the purported success of the FFETF’s and the DOJ’s recent mortgage fraud initiative reflects the lack of accurate data maintained by the Department regarding its mortgage fraud efforts, as well as the Department’s serious failure to adequately vet information that it was presenting to the public. Only days after the press conference the Department had serious concerns over the accuracy of the reported statistics, yet it was not until August 2013 when the Department informed the public that the October 2012 reported statistics were indeed flawed. Moreover, during those 10 months, the Department continued to issue press releases publicizing statistics it knew were seriously flawed. We believe the Department should have been more forthright at a much earlier date about this flawed information.
Somehow, none of this is making me feel any safer.
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