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Federal Law Enforcement & Investigative Agencies: More Than Just the FBI

FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigations

Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation handle all types of criminal investigations including white collar offenses, public corruption, bank robbery, drug distribution, civil rights and terrorism. The FBI has 56 filed offices, 380 resident agencies throughout the country as well as more than 60 liaison offices in other countries known as legal attaches. The FBI is headquartered in Washington, D.C. There are approximately 13,600 FBI Special Agents. The Director of the FBI is James Comey, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to that post in 2013. Link to

Postal Inspection Service

Postal Inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are tasked with investigating any federal crime that may include the use or abuse of the federal postal service. This includes not only the obvious such as theft of mail or Mail Fraud, but also, tax evasion, Health Care Fraud, Conspiracy, drug distribution and many more. There are approximately 1,500 Postal Inspectors in 18 field divisions, two service centers, the National Forensic Laboratory and the National Headquarters. The Chief Postal Inspector is Guy Cottrell, appointed by President Obama in 2010. Often, Postal Inspectors will work in conjunction with other federal law enforcement agents such as the FBI, IRS and SEC.

Secret Service

The Secret Service was established as a law enforcement agency in 1865. Most people know the Secret Service protects the President, other federal officials and foreign dignitaries. However, originally, it was organized to investigate counterfeit currency. Secret Service Special Agents investigate all types of crimes related to monetary and financial systems of the United States, including counterfeit currency, credit card fraud, financial institution fraud computer and technology fraud, identity, and money laundering, among others. There are more than 1,300 Special Agents of the Secret Service in 136 field offices throughout the country.

IRS – Internal Revenue Service

Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, are responsible for investigating any federal tax offense. This includes the obvious, such as tax evasion, money laundering, and violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, but also includes crimes such as drug distribution, Health Care Fraud, Bank Fraud, among others. Interestingly, there are special rules about federal tax investigations such as the fact that agents and federal prosecutors must get special permission from headquarters to begin an investigation into a tax offense. There are approximately 2,600 IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents throughout the country.

HHS-OIG - Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

Special Agents for Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General are responsible for investigating all criminal matters related to the federal healthcare system. As Health Care Fraud investigations have increased over the last several years, HHS-OIG has expanded exponentially. HHS has established the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (“HEAT”) and the Medicare Fraud Strike Forces to combat healthcare fraud throughout the country. There are approximately 1,600 Special Agents in 62 offices throughout the country. They typically focus on healthcare fraud committed against the governmental programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, or CHIPS.

ICE—Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

After 9/11, the U.S. government created the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to protect our citizens within our country’s borders. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement became the main investigative and law enforcement branch of DHS. It was created in 2003 by the merger of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and U.S. Customs Service (Customs). ICE has approximately 6,700 Special Agents in 26 principal field offices nationwide and 67 foreign offices in 47 countries. They promote public safety and homeland security through criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws including immigration, border control, customs violations and related offenses such as Identity Fraud, narcotics distribution, money laundering, cyber crimes and other white collar offenses.

GSA—General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General (GSA-OIG).

GSA is responsible for all aspects of government ownership, property and management. The Office of Inspector General is the investigative arm of GSA, responsible for detecting and preventing fraud, waste and abuse within the federal government’s administration. GSA-OIG investigates crimes related to procurement fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, and wide range of bribery and false claims against the government. GSA-OIG Special Agents operate out of 15 offices nationwide.

DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA is responsible for enforcement of the controlled substance laws and regulations of the United States. Over 4,600 Special Agents in 222 offices nationwide and 86 foreign offices in 67 countries investigate all aspects of our country’s drug laws, including the illegal distribution of prescription medication, such as oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percoset, hydrocodone, Psuedo-ephedrine, and Roxicet, by health care practitioners such as doctors and pharmacists and others.

ATF—Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The ATF is responsible for investigations related to the illegal use of trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. There are approximately 2,400 Special Agents in 25 domestic offices and in 5 foreign countries.

SEC – Securities Exchange Commission.

The mission of the SEC is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. The SEC oversees the main participants involved in securities including the exchanges, brokers and dealers, investment advisors, mutual funds, and hedge funds. The SEC brings civil enforcement actions against individuals and companies in the areas of insider trading, accounting fraud, Sarbanes/Oxley (SOX) violations, and false or misleading information regarding securities. The SEC works closely with many other federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

CFTC --Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

The CFTC was established in 1974 to protect commodities trading participants, as well as the public, from fraud, manipulation and risks related to derivatives. The CFTC regulates and oversees both the swaps and futures markets. The Division of Enforcement investigates and civilly prosecutes alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, such as individuals or companies that improperly trade commodity futures and options, Ponzi schemes, deceptive and manipulative schemes, and disruptive trading practices.

SSA – Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), Office of Investigation (OI).

The SSA-OI conducts criminal investigations into fraud, waste and abuse related to the Social Security Administration, including federal offenses involving identity theft, false claims filed against the government, theft, Mail Fraud and Bank Fraud. The OI works closely with other law enforce6ment agencies such as the FBI, IRS, Postal Inspection Service and the Secret Service. The OI is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland and has 9 Field Divisions with offices in approximately 60 cities.

Call the Federal criminal lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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