Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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

Search results for "bank" ...

  • Driven Into Debt

    This ongoing series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • The Center for Public Integrity: How a Sanctioned Russian Bank Wooed Washington

    Foreign campaigns to influence American officials are supposed to be transparent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law requiring detailed disclosure of foreign influence efforts. But few believe FARA — passed in 1938 to combat Nazi propaganda — has been working well. It is riddled with exemptions. Enforcement is weak. Criminal penalties apply only to willful violations. Lobbying by VTB, a Kremlin-owned Russian bank under sanctions, is a case study in the flaws of FARA. The bank’s hired lobbyists failed to disclose a series of meetings with government officials on behalf of the sanctioned bank until months after U.S. law required them to, and one firm did so only after being contacted by the Center for Public Integrity. The bank sponsored an exclusive gala and invited American officials who oversee sanctions through intermediaries, avoiding disclosure requirements.
  • ProPublica Illinois: Driven Into Debt

    This series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • North Bay Bohemian: Sonoma Trifecta

    The three interlocking stories uncovered a real estate investor-banking-media network that illuminates the shape of Sonoma County’s “shadow” government. A development partnership angling for a county contract includes a county official who partners with a banker who flaunts ethics regulations in a fire disaster rebuild area. An owner of a major local newspaper is a board member of the bank which receives favorable press coverage in the newspaper for its fire deals that do not disclose the ownership connection. Another owner of the newspaper, a real estate investor and political consultant, is found to have defrauded a local Indian tribe in a real estate deal and in cahoots with the son of a U.S. Senator. As we go to press, the newspaper fails to report on the fraud when confronted with the relevant court documents, publishing only a 900 word story on a “dispute” that our 3,500 story unveils as fraud and breach of contract. The need for surviving alt-weeklies to keep publishing hard-hitting LOCAL investigative journalism is reaffirmed.
  • Hachette Books: Billion Dollar Whale

    In 2009, a mild-mannered graduate of the Wharton School of Business set in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude—“like 100 heist movies strung together” (Matt Taibbi)—and one that would eventually ensnare leading bankers and even threaten the future of investment behemoth Goldman Sachs. The story of “the $5 billion swindle known as 1MDB” would become “a textbook case of financial fraud in the modern age" (New York Times). Over a decade, Jho Low siphoned billions from an investment fund—seemingly under the nose of financial watchdogs. He used the money to purchase luxury real estate, to throw champagne-drenched parties with celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Paris Hilton, and even to finance Hollywood films like The Wolf of Wall Street. As his scheme finally unraveled, with his yacht and private jet seized, Low disappeared. Billion Dollar Whale reveals the full story of the financial world’s most unlikely fugitive—a harrowing parable of hubris and greed in the twenty-first century.
  • Freelance: Abandoning American coal mines

    Since reaching a historical high in 2008, U.S. coal production plummeted by a third in the ensuing decade. Companies accounting for nearly half the coal dug across the country declared for bankruptcy in 2015 and 2016, and President Donald Trump’s rhetorical ending of the “war on coal” has shown no meaningful signs of reviving the industry. With the writing on the wall for U.S. coal, I investigated the system meant to guarantee that funds are available to pay for environmental cleanup. I built first-of-their-kind databases to determine how much money was in this system, where it was held and other trends in the industry such as levels of oversight and types of post-mining land uses. A combination of data analysis and ground-level reporting from around the country resulted in stories that showed myriad issues in protecting cleanup funds, which result in scarred land and polluted air and water.
  • CBS News: New Tax Scam Tricks

    When tax preparer Annette Kraft in Duncan, Oklahoma, checked the status of her clients' tax returns in January, she was surprised to find all of them had been rejected."The code was 902-01," she said. "That means someone else has already filed a tax return." It turns out her clients were victims of a new tax scam intended to cheat them out of their refunds, and her town was ground zero in the scam. The criminals get their hands on returns from previous years, then use that information to file new fraudulent returns on unsuspecting victims. After the refund goes into the victim's bank account, the crooks, posing as debt collectors for the IRS, follow up with a phone call claiming the refund was an error, then directing them to a fraudulent website to return the money. "I had about $9,015 more than I anticipated," said Duncan police officer David Woods. He discovered that supposed refund one day as he checked his bank balance, but it didn't make sense because he hadn't filed his taxes yet. "I didn't get my W-2 to file my taxes," Woods said. He returned the money to the government, but now the IRS says his real refund will be delayed, possibly for months. He's not alone. At the local tire shop, 49-year-old Jerry Duvall told us his $5,800 return is more than two months late. "We planned on taking care of expenses, getting caught up on bills and we counted on it," Duvall said. He missed a $200 car payment, and on the very day we spoke with him, he told us his car was getting repossessed.At least 230 of Kraft's clients have been hit and face months of delays. Taxpayers like 91-year-old Ray Prothro found out about the scam from the IRS while we were there.
  • The Swoosh Effect

    Our investigation exposed the insidious role of sneaker money in amateur basketball, offering new and damning examples of how companies such as Nike corrupt youth sports. Our reporting found that: Nike helped the family of Marvin Bagley III, a top-ranked recruit, move from bankruptcy into a gated community; Nike offered special perks to the star of its Portland grassroots team; Nike strategically offered apparel contracts to nearly all big Oregon high schools, costing the company $1 million annually; and the NCAA weakened rules for tracking shoe money in order to minimize transparency.
  • Dark Money: London's dirty secret

    ''Dark Money: London's Dirty Secret'' pierced a world that is normally hidden from all but those who enjoy great wealth or great power: the world of financial secrecy. At a moment when public debate is dominated by inequality and tax evasion, the Financial Times turned a glaring spotlight on the City of London and explained its role in a global system of illicit finance that serves the kleptocrats, criminals and the super-rich. One of the most-read stories of the year on FT.com, Dark Money was a riveting narrative that exposed a system designed to look impenetrable to outsiders. The City’s secrecy specialists spin webs of front companies, offshore accounts and dummy directors that allow tainted wealth to flow around the globe incognito. This system takes dirty money and makes it look clean. It creates a secret world whose existence is corrosive to the rest of society – a piggy bank for untouchable power.
  • Panama Papers

    The Panama Papers investigation reveals the offshore links of some of the globe’s most prominent figures. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other media partners spent a year sifting through 11.5 million leaked files to expose the hidden financial dealings of world leaders, fraudsters, gangsters, drug traffickers, billionaires, celebrities, sports stars and more. The investigation revealed companies that helped fuel Syria’s deadly air war and a network of people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin that secretly moved as much as $2 billion through banks and offshore companies.