Bailout will spark wave of fraud, warns FBI chief

26 March 2009

The US government's $787 billion economic stimulus package and its recent bank bailouts will lead to an "inevitable" rise in economic crime, the head of the FBI has warned.

Robert Mueller told a congressional committee that the expected wave of fraud cases will put further strain on resources already stretched by the bureau's ongoing pursuit of mortgage fraud, terrorism and public corruption.

He added that the bureau has around half the number of agents available to tackle financial crime compared to the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Reuters reports.

"The unprecedented level of financial resources committed by the federal government to combat the economic downturn will lead to an inevitable increase in economic crime and public corruption cases," Mr Mueller said.

The chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, Patrick Leahy, said the legislature is expected to pass a bill in April authorizing $245 million a year in funding to help the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in the fight against financial fraud.

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