Federal and State Agencies Investigate Frauds and Offer Resources to Their Victims

by Multiple state and federal agencies in the United States offer consumer protection oversight and investigations for people or companies who are defrauded, cheated, and scammed.  Those agencies are a resource for educational information about the latest schemes and frauds as well as options to report claims to investigators.  A non-exclusive list of agencies follows:

  • Securities and Exchange Commission: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversees securities exchanges, such as New York Stock Exchange, securities dealers and brokers, mutual funds, and investment advisors, among others. Among the securities actions that SEC prosecutes are accounting fraud, false or misleading information about securities cases, and insider trading. The SEC also prosecutes Ponzi and pyramid schemes, such as the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
  • Federal Trade Commission: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigates and prosecutes cases related to unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices or other scams.  The FTC also investigates frauds or unfair business practices where companies do not fulfill promises and cheat individuals out of their money.  The topics areas overseen by the FTC include credit scams, telemarketing scams, health and weight loss products, debt collection, credit reports, and other financial matters.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Created in the 2010 Wall Street Reforms, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) oversees consumer financial products and services, such as credit cards, mortgages, and other loans. The CFPB regulates banks and other financial institutions but it also regulates non-bank institutions like payday lenders and debt collectors.  A focus of the bureau is protecting consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices.
  • State Attorneys General: Attorneys General for various states operate consumer protection divisions enforcing laws against frauds and deceptive and unfair practices.  State AGs target violations of laws through payday loans, title loans, mortgage loans, and other financial products.
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center: The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center prosecutes crimes through Internet components, such as websites, chatrooms, or email, for multiple offenses like failure to deliver goods or services, employment and business opportunity schemes, and advance-fee schemes.
  • Medicare/Medicaid Fraud Enforcement: Operating as a part of State Attorneys General offices, Medicaid Fraud Control Units investigate Medicaid fraud, including fraudulent Medicaid billing, misclassifications of drugs, and kickbacks.  Medicare Fraud Strike Forces operate in multiple areas throughout the country.  The strike forces investigate kickback payments, healthcare fraud schemes, and other frauds.
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission: The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates commodity futures, commodity options, and swaps trading markets.  The Commission has oversight over frauds related to precious metals (gold, silver, and palladium), foreign currency trading, and commodity pools.

Sources: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 101: Why We Need a Consumer Watchdog, Obama White House Archives (last visited December 16, 2018), https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2012/01/04/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-101-why-we-need-consumer-watchdog; Consumer Protection Division, Florida Attorney General, http://www.myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/18A7753257FE439085256CC9004EC4F7 (last visited December 16, 2018); Herring Highlights Consumer Protection Resources as National Consumer Protection Week Begins, News Release, Office of Att’y Gen., Commonwealth of Va., https://www.oag.state.va.us/media-center/news-releases/1134-march-5-2018-herring-highlights-consumer-protection-resources-as-national-consumer-protection-week-begins (last visited December 16, 2018); What We Do, U.S. Secs. & Exhg. Comm’n, https://www.sec.gov/Article/whatwedo.html (last visited December 16, 2018); FTC Complaint Assistant, Fed. Trade Comm’n, https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-3 (last visited December 16 2018); SEC Charges Bernard L. Madoff for Multi-Billion Dollar Ponzi Scheme, News Release, Secs. & Exchg. Comm’n, https://www.sec.gov/news/press/2008/2008-293.htm (list visited December 17, 2018); Bureau of Consumer Protection, Fed. Trade Comm’n, https://www.ftc.gov/about-ftc/bureaus-offices/bureau-consumer-protection (last visited December 17, 2018); Submit a Consumer Complaint to the FTC, Fed. Trade Comm’n, https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc (last visited December 17, 2018); Frequently Asked Questions, Fed. Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Ctr. (IC3), https://www.ic3.gov/faq/default.aspx (last visited December 17, 2018); Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs), U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., Office of Inspector Gen., https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/medicaid-fraud-control-units-mfcu/ (last visited December 17, 2018); Murrin, Suzanne, Medicaid Fraud Control Units Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report, U.S. Dep’t Health & Human Servs., Office of Inspector Gen. (March 2018), https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-09-18-00180.pdf; Medicare Fraud Strike Force, U.S. Dep’t Health & Human Servs., Office of Inspector Gen., https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/strike-force/ (last visited December 17, 2018); Learning Resources, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n, https://www.cftc.gov/ConsumerProtection/Resources/index.htm (last visited December 17, 2018).

Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton

Dwayne Robinson
Dwayne is a trial-tested lawyer who has represented clients in dozens of appeals in federal and state court, including at oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. He has represented clients who have matters simultaneously pending in trial court and appellate court in the same or related cases, assisting them with advancing their litigation goals on multiple fronts.

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