By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
The following story drew the "duh" response from me and will from you, too:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI is bracing for a wave of fraud and corruption cases stemming from the government's multi-trillion-dollar effort to get the economy moving again, the agency's chief told Congress on Wednesday.
The expected surge in economic crimes will place further strain on an agency already stretched thin as it investigates mortgage fraud, terrorism and corrupt politicians, FBI Director Robert Mueller said.
People who engage in fraud are like hunters: they shoot at easy targets. When the president proposed and Congress approved an ocean of pork in his stimulus plan, it was easily predicted that crooks would get in the mix quickly--particularly when the government is the only part of the economy able to function in our current mess. Why did Willie Sutton rob banks? His famous response was that was where the money is. Why will crooks target government programs? Same reason.
If Congress and the President had done a better job at targeting funds at, A) freeing up the frozen financial lending system and, B) creating government jobs in certain industries, then crooks wouldn't be viewing the stimulus package as a theft opportunity. But since billions of dollars in government contracts will be lent to private employers, of course there's going to be fraud.
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By Bonnie Erbe