News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PAO

MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2010 (202) 514-2007

WWW.JUSTICE.GOV TDD (202) 514-1888

FINANCIAL FRAUD ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCE ANNOUNCES REGIONAL RESULTS OF “OPERATION BROKEN TRUST” TARGETING INVESTMENT FRAUD

RALEIGH – Following an announcement today by Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C., United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced the regional results of Operation Broken Trust, a nationwide operation which targeted investment fraud in the Eastern District of North Carolina and throughout the country. Operation Broken Trust is the first nationwide operation of its kind to target a broad array of investment fraud schemes that directly prey upon the investing public.

The interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force was established by the President to lead an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. Starting on Aug. 16, 2010, to date Operation Broken Trust has involved enforcement actions against 310 criminal defendants and 189 civil defendants for fraud schemes involving more than 120,000 victims throughout the country. The operation’s criminal cases involved more than approximately $8.3 billion in estimated losses and the civil cases involved estimated losses of more than $2.1 billion.

 

“With this operation, the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force is sending a strong message,” said Attorney General Holder. “To the public: be alert for these frauds, take appropriate measures to protect yourself, and report such schemes to proper authorities when they occur. And to anyone operating or attempting to operate an investment scam: cheating investors out of their earnings and savings is no longer a safe business plan - we will use every tool at our disposal to find you, to stop you, and to bring you to justice.”

“It may be difficult to detect these complicated and sophisticated crimes by individuals who are careful to cover up their illicit acts; however, law enforcement officers who make this task force are dedicated and our prosecutors are eager to prosecute these criminals who prey on innocent people,” stated Mr. Holding. “We are pleased that this Task Force has been founded and that a stable foundation has been laid to help protect our citizens who try to swindle them out of their money.”

“Financial fraud adds to the underground economy and erodes the integrity of our tax system,”stated Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. “IRS CI is committed to pursuing individuals who create such havoc.”

“It may seem financial crime hurts only an elite few in our community.However, the people who are running these schemes are costing this country billions of dollars each year, money none of us can afford to lose in this tough economy,” said Alphonso Norris, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina.“The FBI will continue to search out people who think their fraud is going unnoticed and bring them to justice.”

The President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit StopFraud.gov.

The Operation Broken Trust case in the Eastern District of North Carolina included:

United States vs. Gregory Bartko

Bartko was convicted on November 18, 2010, of conspiring to commit mail fraud and the sale of unregistered securities. Government evidence at trial showed that Bartko, a practicing securities attorney from Atlanta, Georgia, along with others had participated in a scheme to defraud. For further details, please see press release issued November 22, 2010.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspector’s Service, the Internal Revenue Service, and the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office participated in the investigation of this case.

"The Bartko conviction shows how dedicated we are in protecting theU.S. Mails and our customers from financial schemes," commented Gregory S. Crabb, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, Charlotte Division.

As a part of Operation Broken Trust, the task force is making the public aware of resources available to protect against these types of fraud and how to report fraud when it occurs. To learn more about investment scams, how to take steps to protect yourself from scams, or how to report investment fraud if you believe you have been victimized, the task force recommends that you visit its website, StopFraud.gov.

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