Corporate fraud is a large concern around the world, and the United States is no different. Enron is probably the foremost example of corporate fraud, also known as white-collar crime. According to the Certified Fraud Examiners' 2004 statistics, "Fraud and abuse costs U.S. organizations more than $660 billion annually." Therefore, fraud is a significant issue that must be addressed by government agencies with the personnel to handle the reports. Knowing what you need to report fraud and where to report it will help ensure timely action of the agencies working to bring about justice.
Collect any evidence applicable to the corporate fraud you are alleging. Names of individuals involved, addresses, dates and other identifying information are most helpful. Be able to concisely explain the situation within a few sentence paragraph. Follow the instructions provided on the website of the government agency best equipped to handle the situation. For example, notify the U.S. Postal Service via their website for fraud dealing with mail correspondence.
Determine any local agencies and authorities that have jurisdiction over fraud claims. For example, the local police department deals with all kinds of fraud and provides a case number. Use the case number when reporting to state and federal authorities as a starting reference. The police report requires a summary of the situation and documents verifying the situation. Contact the fraud department of the police station via the hotline, in person or via the website to report a crime involving fraud.
Report the fraud to the attorney general of your state. You can file a report via the attorney general's website. To locate your attorney general's contact information, go to the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) site. Typically, you must categorize the kind of fraud you are alleging with the company details. Attorneys General deal with any type of fraud, such as mortgage and Internet scams.
Contact the appropriate federal government agency to ensure action is taken. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) takes on fraud complaints from consumers alleging irregularities in business practices. In addition to the FTC, the FBI may be the best resource for large corporate fraudulent behavior. Call the FBI hotline at 888-622-0117. In large cases, multiple agencies work together, so you may need to contact each one individually.
Report fraud to the appropriate specialized agencies designed to handle the particular business sector. For instance, financial sector crimes should be disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Secret Service. Both deal with financial fraud, which is problematic when dealing with corporate fraud. For example, misrepresentation by a company to another party and the use of counterfeit money should include reports with each agency. Banks and hedge fund companies are examples of organizations that fall into the financial sector category. For a complete list of the types of fraud and the methods to report a complaint, visit the website for each agency. The websites for each agency require your contact information and details about the situation to start an investigation.
Follow up with each agency to determine if any additional details are required. Due to the volume of complaints, you may not get a response, so you may need to attempt to follow up several times.
Get help with registering Internet crimes from the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). They can help file Internet crime complaints through their website and notify the appropriate authorities at local, state, and federal levels promptly, accurately and securely. For general guidance about the fraud reporting process and to whom to report corporate fraud, visit "Consumer Fraud Reporting" (see Resources).
- work image by Danil Vachegin from Fotolia.com