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 "extortion" ...

  • The Digilantes Try to Find Out Who Is Behind Mugshot.com

    The Digilantes uncovered a multi-million dollar extortion-based industry that’s wreaking havoc upon tens of millions of Americans’ lives, especially minorities. It’s the business of mugshot websites. Operators of these sites scrape public arrest records from online police databases, put them on their own websites, making them easily searchable on Google, and then charge hundreds of dollars to remove them, whether you are guilty or not. These mugshots, which can live forever online, are a form of digital scarlet letter ruining people's’ reputations, job and housing opportunities, even their dating lives. http://fusion.net/story/252451/digilantes-mugshots-dotcom-investigation/
  • Inside the Shady Industry that Profits off Mugshot Photos

    “Mugged,” which premiered on Fusion on March 6, 2016 as part of the network’s monthly investigative “The Naked Truth” series, explores the multi-million dollar extortion industry of mugshot websites, which is wreaking havoc on the lives and reputations of tens of millions of Americans, especially minorities. In a completely legal process, operators of these websites collect public arrest records and photographs from online police databases and post the records on their own websites, often making the content more prominent via search engine optimization. These mugshot websites then charge the arrested individuals hundreds of dollars to remove their records and photos, despite the fact that many of these individuals have been falsely arrested, found innocent, or have yet to stand trial.
  • Drug Test Shakedown

    A FOX31 Denver undercover investigation exposed an extortion scheme happening inside a prominent pre-employment drug screening center. Undercover cameras caught a facility manager accepting cash bribes from clients in exchange for guaranteed adulteration of urine tests.
  • Mexico's Crackdown on Central American Migrants

    In January and February 2015, In These Times reporter Joseph Sorrentino interviewed dozens of Central American migrants along one of Mexico's main migration routes. He found that a Mexican government initiative to more aggressively police and deport migrants had forced them to take slower and more dangerous routes, leaving them easier prey to robbery, rape, extortion, kidnapping, assault and murder by gangs and narcos. Mexico's stepped-up border enforcement was the result of U.S. pressure on Mexico to halt the "surge" of Central American children reaching the U.S. border.
  • Killers Inc.

    Killers Inc. investigates the attempted assassination of the prominent Russian banker and businessman Gherman Gorbuntsov in London in 2012. The documentary traces the origins of the attempt to The Republic of Moldova, where our reporters meet Renat Usatii, a controversial pro-Russian Moldovan politician who Gorbuntsov says orchestrated his assassination attempt. As the investigation unfolds in real-time, our reporters come face to face with the employer of Gorbuntsov’s alleged assassin, Ion Druta, who takes us down a rabbit hole where the forces behind the assassination attempt are revealed. Major Findings: •Renat Usatii, a powerful Moldovan politician, was allegedly sent from Russia to Moldova to represent the interests of the powerful Russians from who Gorbuntsov stole money. •Gherman Gorbuntsov, a former banker for the Kremlin-run Russian Railways, allegedly stole hundreds of million dollars from businessmen connected to the Russian Railways and Russian organized crime groups. •Renat Usatii allegedly received support from Russian intelligence services and other influential Russian figures in his bid to build a pro-Russian Moldovan political party. •Vitalie Proca, Gorbuntsov’s alleged assassin, is part of an organized crime group based in Transdniestria and Moldova that offers criminal services for oligarchs, politicians and other crime groups who are soliciting murder, extortion or debt collection. The group is led by a Vor v Zakone named Nicu Patron.
  • Who Protects Reputation for the Bolibourgeoisie?

    While investigating corruption in Venezuela's oil industry, I stumbled upon dozens of newly created websites that appeared to exist only to obfuscate search results about the people I was investigating. It was what technologists call "black-hat reputation management." I tried to figure out who might be behind this effort, and ended up on a months-long hunt that connected several otherwise unrelated scams. I tentatively identified the person who was working for all of these different scammers. This article shows how I solved the puzzle. The article became the best-read page on my blog, thanks in part to a link from Boing Boing. In response to it, Google.com changed its search results, the reputation manager deleted some of the offending sites, and someone decided to take out aggression on me. Immediately after I posted the article, someone, most likely the person fingered in my investigation, posted web sites that say I'm an extortionist on the run from the law. The revenge sites also include personal family photos taken from my mother's Facebook page. This article shows that an independent, unfunded blog can do serious investigative journalism with a real-world impact.
  • Death In The Desert

    Exposing trafficking and enslavement of African refugees in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula -- a lawless place ruled by Bedouin tribes. Crimes involved include, but are not limited to, extortion, torture, human and organ trafficking, and murder.
  • Abuse of the Badge?

    A Sheriff's Deputy has long been accused of sexual assault, coercion, manipulation and extortion but there was never enough evidence to back up the claims. This series compiles months of background investigation, interviews with other members of law enforcement and testimony from multiple alleged victims.
  • Barry Minkow 2.0

    The LA Weekly found that Barry Minkow was duping investors for the second time, while the media looked the other way. Using thousands of pages of court documents, public companies' financial reports, and real estate records, the Weekly discovered a pattern of Minkow shortening stocks his Fraud Discovery Institute was about to issue critical reports on, sending the stocks plummeting.
  • Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

    Many local business owners began to believe something bizarre was happening when sales reps from Yelp.com offered to remove negative reviews off of the website. The only way the negative reviews could be removed was if the local businesses would advertise with Yelp. If the business owners refused the offer, they began noticing positive reviews disappearing.