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Feds Using Behavioral Profiling To Uncover White Collar Crime, À La Serial Killer Investigations

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Matthew Goldstein reports:

A team of FBI agents, the same ones who specialize in helping local police track down serial killers like Ridgway, are using their expertise in behavioral profiling to target white collar criminals like Madoff. For about two years now, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit have been consulting with their colleagues in New York who specialize in securities fraud detective work. The BAU agents are going over the case files put together by the FBI for Madoff and other convicted scammers like Bayou Group's Samuel Israel, whose $400 million hedge fund turned out to be Ponzi scheme, and former Democratic fundraiser Hassan Nemazee, who stole nearly $300 million from Citigroup and two other big banks.

The FBI's profiling strategies are part of an aggressive new approach to financial crimes. Facing widespread criticism over the lack of criminal cases stemming from the financial crisis, the FBI and federal prosecutors are keen on showing that they are not soft on white collar offenses. To that end, the FBI for the first time has an "embedded" agent working closely with the Securities and Exchange Commission's main office in Washington, D.C. The agent began working a year ago with the SEC's new market intelligence unit, vetting early tips the regulatory agency gets about potential scams and frauds from the public. An FBI official says there's talk of doing something similar with the SEC's all important New York regional office as well.

From Hannibal Lecter To Bernie Madoff [Reuters]