Operation Broken Trust Investment Fraud Sweep Has Ended

According to the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, the largest investment fraud sweep ever conducted by the United States has ended. Called Operation Broken Trust, the probe involved 231 cases and over 120,000 fraud victims who sustained over $8 billion in investment losses.

Operation Broken Trust’s objective was to discover and expose large scale investment fraud schemes in the US and notify the public about bogus financial scams. The probe focused on schemes that directly targeted individual investors as opposed to long-term complex corporate fraud issues. In many case, the criminals involved were trusted members of the victims’ communities, such as a coworker or a fellow church attendee. A number of investors lost their homes and/or life savings as a result of the scams.

Victims were targeted by other individuals who were promoting “investment opportunities” that were either not structured the way they were promoted or totally bogus. Scams include Ponzi schemes, high-yield investment fraud schemes, foreign exchange fraud, commodities fraud, pump-and-dump scams, market manipulation, business opportunity fraud, real estate investment fraud, and affinity fraud.

The FBI says that Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City were the leading cities for Ponzi scams. More than 200 Ponzi cases have been opened since the beginning of 2009. Many of these schemes resulted in over $20 million in losses. The FBI says it has been able to shut down many of the scams and many of those responsible have been arrested.

Operation Broken Trust includes civil and criminal enforcement actions that took place between August 16 and December 1, 2010.

Related Web Resources:
Operation Broken Trust, FBI, December 6, 2010

Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force , US Department of Justice

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