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 "mail fraud" ...

  • Simon & Schuster: A Deal with the Devil

    A Deal with the Devil chronicles the journey of two investigative journalists as they search for answers about one of the longest-running mail frauds in history. The scam centers around a mysterious psychic named Maria Duval, whose name and face have become infamous to sick and elderly victims all around the world, who have sent in millions of dollars in response to bogus promises made by letters allegedly signed by Duval. Global investigators have spent decades trying to stop the fraud, but when those efforts failed and they couldn’t determine who this woman was -- or if she was even real – authors Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken made it their mission to get to the bottom of this notorious scam once and for all. Their hunt takes readers on twists and turns as they discover key orchestrators of the fraud hiding away in places like Monaco and Thailand, and as they get farther than any law enforcement has -- even traveling to France in an attempt to confront the psychic herself. Investigative reporter Bethany McLean called the book “a personal how-to guide for investigative journalists, a twisted tale of a scam of huge proportions and a really good read.” NYU Journalism Professor Adam Penenberg, who famously exposed journalist fraudster Stephen Glass, said, “Journalists Ellis and Hicken out-sleuthed professional law enforcement in unraveling the mystery of a $200 million global scam. What they have wrought would have made a gripping novel. The fact that every word is true is what makes this book downright shocking.” Other endorsements came from NBC business anchor Ali Velshi and crime fiction writer Megan Abbott.
  • The Mail Fraud Mafia

    In CNNMoney’s initial five-part investigation, they took readers along on our journey each week as they peeled back the layers of one of the world’s longest-running scams and ultimately exposed the global network that has kept it alive for decades. Even international investigators had been stumped. They had been unable to shut the scheme down and were not even sure whether the French psychic Maria Duval, who was the face and name of the scam, was a real person. But after months of reporting, CNN managed to zero in on the scam’s original masterminds, untangle the complicated and shadowy business web that has kept the scheme alive, and tell the unexpected story of psychic herself -- providing a rare window into how this massive fraud has been able to go on for so long. And in their second installment, they exposed a little-known Canadian company named PacNet, which has made schemes like this possible. By cashing the checks sent in by countless victims -- not just for the Maria Duval scheme, but for dozens of heartless scams that have preyed on the elderly for decades -- this tiny payment processor had been quietly profiting from global fraud for years. In this world, con artists perpetrate the fraud. PacNet deposits the checks. Not only did this series document just how many scams PacNet had processed payments for, but it also detailed the close-knit network of global scammers that specifically prey on the elderly, and the companies that help them do it.
  • Robert Felner

    Former University of Louisville Dean Robert Felner was involved in a money laundering scheme that led to the misappropriation of $2.3 million in contract and federal grant funds.
  • Huntington Beach Condo Scandal

    OC Weekly's investigative reporter revealed that one city council member in Huntington Beach Californina, Pamela Houchen, converted the four-unit apartment building into four separate condominiums without applying for a city permit. This report sparked an FBI investigation. As a result, Houchen was accused of fraud in 8 illegal condo conversions with 11 counts of mail fraud and 7 counts of wire fraud.
  • A lavish lifestyle at teacher's expense.

    Reporters from the Miami Herald found the president of the United Teachers of Dade of committing fraud and using corporate funds to finance personal assets. Followed by a FBI investigation on Pat Tornillo, the reporters used their contacts in the FBI to find out how the union leader had evaded taxes and used company finances. Tornillo was later sentenced by the courts.
  • Cyberstalking

    CBS news looks at the fast growing Internet crimes, cyberstalking in particular, and examines the legal challenges involved in prosecuting them. The report "profiles freelance writer Jayne Hitchcock, a victim of cyberstalkers," who describes how she has been harassed with "nasty e-mail messages and threats" for years. The story explores why "law enforcement was reluctant to take her complaints seriously," and sheds light on "the frustrations the justice system deals with in prosecuting cyber-crimes."
  • Big Dreams ... Shattered Dreams

    "'Big Dreams, Inc.,' a Minneapolis travel agency, was selling trips to the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii as well as other winter getaways. The deals were widely advertised on Twin City radio stations. Thousands of people bought them. KMSP-TV discovered the company owner was running a business that thrived on unethical and illegal behavior. He committed mail fraud, wrote more than a million dollars in bad checks, was wanted in Las Vegas for running a similar travel scam there and left a trail of unpaid bills that totaled in the hundreds of thousands of dollars."
  • A builder's life

    The Bee tells the story of John Bonadello, a wealthy developer who built his fortune from the bottom up. A federal jury charged Bonadello with racketeering, bribery, money laundering, witness tampering and mail fraud in the FBI's Operation Rezone investigation in 1998, almost 50 years after he started his business of acquiring and building homes in Fresno.
  • Medical billing fraud

    For investments of about $1,000, a California telemarketing company promised to set up a home-based business for Nebraskans and Iowans to do medical billing for doctors. The investors later discovered that no doctors wanted their service.
  • Broken Dreams

    The Union-News, Sunday Republican reports "American Inventors Corp. billed itself as an inventions promotion company - a resourceful corporate friend to basement visionaries and backyard tinkerers eager to see their brainchildren patented and borne into the marketplace.... Federal officials say that Russell resident Ronald Boulerice and others created an elaborate money-making machine that preyed on the dreams, sweat and money of more than 34,000 inventors, swindling them out of as much as $100 million since the company's founding in 1975. All without generating a single dime of legitimate profit to any customer who used their services. Last May, Boulerice and nine others associated with American Inventors and two of its corporate spin-offs were indicted on charges of mail fraud, money laundering and tax evasion...."