Resource Center

Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364573-882-3364  or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.



Search results for "families" ...

  • Google Play Store Lets Your Kid Spend Like a Drunken Sailor

    This investigation, performed under extremely tight time constraints and in the face of intense competition, delivered previously unreported consumer news about a longstanding problem that had cost customers of the world's biggest brand, Google, millions of dollars. The published report, which presented a technical problem in a dramatic and understandable way, had significant impact: It prompted Google to fix the problem within a matter of weeks; the report itself was sent by Google's biggest competitor, Apple, to the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission; the report was cited extensively as evidence in a class action suit against Google in Federal Court; and it helped lead to a settlement between Google and the Federal Trade Commission in which Google agreed to reimburse aggrieved consumers at least $19 million.

    Tags: google; play; family; apple; FTC

    By Jeffrey Fox

    Consumer Reports

    2014

  • Campus Confidential Informants

    Student journalists in Professor Steve Fox's Investigative Journalism & The Web class uncovered that the University of Massachusetts Amherst police use confidential informants, potentially putting students' safety at risk. Officers were allowing students to avoid campus and criminal consequences for drug offenses in return for becoming police informers, allowing some students to conceal dangerous drug habits from their families. After months of investigation, student journalists Eric Bosco and Kayla Marchetti reported that a UMass student who agreed to become a confidential informant to avoid a drug arrest, died of a heroin overdose. Publication of the student's death lead prosecutors to reopen the investigation into the overdose death after the student's mother gave them the name of the student she believes provided him with the drug.

    Tags: University of Massachusetts; drugs; overdoses; informants

    By Steve Fox; Eric Bosco; Kayla Marchetti; Scott Allen

    Boston Globe

    2014

  • Canada's Unwanted

    A Global News investigation into the way Canada treats its non-citizens - refugee applicants, immigration detainees and just about anyone the government is trying to get rid of or whose status in the country remains up in the air - found systems rife with arbitrary opacity and questionable practices. They revealed never-before-published deaths in detention and pressured the Border Services Agency into releasing more information on the people who die in its custody. They also outlined the way Canada detains people indefinitely in jails on no charge – often with limited access to family, legal counsel and third-party monitoring agencies, denying repeated requests by the Red Cross to perform inspections of immigrant detention facilities in Canada's most populous province. In two years, Canada paid thousands of applicants to abandon their appeals and leave the country.

    Tags: Canada; undocumented immigrants; refugees; Border Services Agency; detain

    By Patrick Cain; Leslie Young; Anna Mehler Paperny

    Global News (Vancouver, BC)

    2014

  • Adoption Subsidy

    Because of a confusing tangle of bureaucratic rules, adoptive parents in New York City continue to receive monthly government subsidies even after sending their adopted children back to foster care or kicking them out onto the street. The subsidy is meant to encourage parents to adopt "hard-to-place" children out of foster care and to provide for the children’s care. But in the event that an adoption does not work out, the city’s children services agency will not cut off the subsidy even when it learns that the parents are no longer caring for their kids, blaming restrictive state and federal rules for its inability to act. This means, as one NYC Family Court judge said, that a child in foster care “would not have enough money for a winter coat while their parents were getting a thousand dollars a month from the city.” The city’s refusal to act also means the government is in many cases double-paying for the children’s care: one set of payments going to the children’s new foster homes and another set going to the parents who have turned their backs on them.

    Tags: adoption; government subsidies; children; foster care

    By Nick Nehamas; Glenn Bain; Baddy Paddock

    New York Daily News

    2014

  • Hired Guns

    Across the United States, there is a group of men and women who are given weapons and the imprimatur of law enforcement but who face almost no scrutiny: armed security guards. Until a CNN/The Center for Investigative Reporting investigation into the burgeoning industry, little was known about how haphazard and weak America’s standards were for training and regulating armed security guards. The result has left people dead and paralyzed, and families devastated.

    Tags: armed security guards; minimal oversight; guns; public safety; firearms training; broadcast

    By Drew Griffin; Patricia DiCarlo; Richard Griffiths; Wendy Bleiler; Scott Zamost; Shoshana Walter; Ryan Gabrielson; Robert Salladay; Narda Zacchino; Jennifer LaFleur; Robert Salladay

    CNN

    2014

  • Shadow Campus

    The series found that Boston colleges have added thousands of students without enough housing to accommodate them all, pushing students into dangerously overcrowded apartments in surrounding neighborhoods and putting students' lives at risk. A Globe team discovered that overcrowded apartments were rampant in student neighborhoods, including many that were firetraps or riddled with pests, broken locks and other hazards. Local colleges reneged on promises to building more housing and steered students to one of the city's most notorious landlords. Local housing regulators seemed powerless or unwilling to tackle the issue. And families were gradually replaced by absentee landlords, changing the character of key parts of the city.

    Tags: Boston College; housing

    By Jenn Abelson

    Boston Globe

    2014

  • Military Medicine

    A year-long investigation by The New York Times into the United States’ military hospitals revealed systematically poor care across major safety measures, showing that the trail of patients who died needlessly, babies who were permanently damaged and surgeries that left lifelong disabilities were not just unusual events, but part of a pattern of a medical system with systemic shortcomings. These are not VA hospitals: These are the nation's little-examined 55 military hospitals. This is not about war-related injuries, but routine medical care promised to those in the military and their families. The New York Times, by analyzing statistics, proved for the first time that crucial safety measures, like performing a root cause analysis when a patient unexpectedly dies or suffers from permanent disabilities that result from medical care, were not being done. The result of the work is that, in early fall, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced major changes to the way these hospitals provide care, and called for improved safety.

    Tags: Military hospitals; corruption

    By Andrew Lehren

    The New York Times

    2014

  • Just sign here: Federal workers max out at taxpayers' expense

    FMCS is a tiny independent federal agency whose director's first order of business was to use federal funds to buy artwork from his own wife, $200 coasters and champagne. The agency paid $85,000 to the phantom company of a just-retired official for no services; spent $50,000 at a jewelry store, supposedly on picture frames to give its 200 employees "tenure awards;" and leased its people $53,000 cars. Large portions of its employees routinely used government credit cards for clearly personal items after merely requesting to have them “unblocked” from restricted items, according to 50,000 pages of internal documents obtained by the Washington Examiner--raising questions about purchase card use in other agencies. Federal employees were charging cell phones for their whole families and cable TV at not just their homes, but their vacation homes too, to the government. Its IT director has had hundreds of thousands of dollars of high-end electronics delivered to his home in West Virginia, and there is no record of many of those items being tracked to federal offices. Many other items billed are highly suspect, such as $500 for single USB thumb drives that retail for $20. Virtually all of its spending circumvented federal procurement laws. When employees pointed out rulebreaking, Director George Cohen forced one accountant to write a letter to the GSA retracting her complaint, had another top employee walked out by armed guards, and fired another whistleblower, a disabled veteran, for missing a day of work while she laid in the ICU. At an agency the size of FMCS, where corruption went to the top, there were no higher levels to appeal to, no Inspector General, and--previously--no press attention.

    Tags: Fraud; spending

    By Luke Rosiak

    Washington Examiner

    2013

  • Indian Drug Company Investigation

    The first part of our story profiled a whistleblower who exposed massive fraud at Ranbaxy, a multi-billion dollar Indian generic drug company that sold adulterated drugs to millions of Americans for years. The company sold these drugs to millions of Americans while lieing to the FDA claiming the drugs worked and could fight such life threatening illnesses like cancer, AIDS, diabetes and infections. The second part of our story revealed that despite the company’s claims, the company has ongoing serious manufacturing problems. In fact, just two weeks after CBS left a Ranbaxy plant in India, the FDA banned all finished drugs coming into the US from Ranbaxy. However, our story also revealed that while the FDA banned all finished drugs, the company is still continues to make the key ingredients for drugs sold to Americans today– including such popular drugs as Astra Zeneca’s Nexium. At the center of our story was the whistleblower, Dinesh Thakur, who had never done a television interview. The risks that Thakur took in exposing his company led to a massive federal false claims lawsuit that aided the federal criminal investigation and rewarded Thakur with $49 million. According to one federal agent who worked on the case for seven years, without Thakur “there would have been no investigation and no criminal conviction.” We were alarmed to find in our reporting that so many of the key players in the federal investigation had made personal decisions based on what they learned to never take a Ranbaxy drug. Three Justice Department attorneys, six former Ranbaxy employees, one former FDA criminal investigator and two Congressional investigators (Democrat and a Republican) all told CBS News that they would never take a Ranbaxy drug, nor would they allow a family member to do so. Each shared with us personal anecdotes of finding Ranbaxy drugs in family members’ medicine cabinets or receiving a prescription at a drug store only to tell the pharmacist that they must have a different brand. For this reason we felt strongly that it was important to notify our audience of the risks with this company. We also informed our audience that foreign drug makers are not subject to the same strong oversight that drug makers in the US face every day. For example, drug makers in the US face unannounced inspections. Despite efforts to beef up foreign FDA inspections, foreign companies are still notified in advance of upcoming inspections. In the US there is one FDA inspector for every 9 phamaceutical facilities. In India there is one FDA inspector for every 105 facilities. CBS News also tracked down half a dozen other former Ranbaxy employees who told CBS what they witnessed at the company both in the United States and in India. Two top employees went on camera to share their experiences.

    Tags: None

    By Patricia Shevlin

    CBS News

    2013

  • What Happened to Kendrick Johnson?

    For eight hours a day, six days a week, two grieving parents stand on a South Georgia street corner with homemade signs, family photos and a question: “What Happened to Kendrick Johnson?” January 10, 2013, their 17-year-old son disappeared between classes at his Valdosta high school. The next morning, the three-sport star’s body was found upside down in a rolled mat in the school’s gym. Within hours of finding Johnson’s body, local investigators determined his death was an accident. A state medical examiner agreed and the case was closed. The teenager’s parents never believed the official story but their pleas for outside officials to investigate were ignored. CNN’s Victor Blackwell was the first television correspondent outside the Johnson’s small community to report the story. As other national and international news organizations began to take interest in the story, CNN continued to lead. Blackwell and CNN producer Devon Sayers literally traveled across the country searching for answers. They were the first or only team to report more than 40 major developments in the story. CNN has filed nearly two-dozen requests for open records. Despite strong resistance from local officials, CNN has exposed internal finger-pointing over withheld evidence and a compromised investigation, missing body parts and suspicious holes in school surveillance footage, which CNN successfully sued to obtain. After CNN’s more than 20 reports, each offering exclusive details, the Department of Justice launched a federal investigation into Johnson’s death and the sheriff’s handling of the case. The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office also launched an investigation into a local funeral home’s treatment of Johnson’s corpse. Those investigations are ongoing. Beyond reporting the details of a bizarre and emotional story, CNN’s continued coverage of the circumstances surrounding the death of Kendrick Johnson fulfills a core mission of journalism: It holds those in power accountable.

    Tags: None

    By Victor Blackwell

    CNN

    2013