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 "scams" ...

  • Stealing Hope

    Thousands of infants are happily adopted in the U.S. each year, but many prospective parents are duped during the process by scammers who fool them with fake babies. Most of these con artists never attempt to extort any money from prospective parents, making them all but impossible to prosecute. They seem content playing a sick game with very desperate people and they steal nothing more than hope.
  • 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.
  • Electric Boondoggle

    A $2.5 million prize from the prestigious taxpayer-backed X Prize competition wound up rewarding a troubled company that's been accused of running penny-stock scams. A two-month Greenwire investigation uncovered a cascade of suspicious transactions and dubious claims by Li-Ion Motors Corporation Court documents, interviews and the company's own filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission found that the company has plowed through $50 million in investors' money with little to show for it other than millions of dollars of debt, a $250,000 IRS lien, angry customers and allegations that it was involved in "pump and dump" stock schemes.
  • Hope and Heartbreak

    They traveled from across the country. A farmer's wife. A lawyer. A chiropractor. Seven women who seemed to have very little in common. But when we started filming their interview, what they shared became painfully obvious. A sense of grief and broken trust. All of them, they told us, were victims of "the cruelest con." Adoption fraud. https://vimeo.com/151819415
  • Miss "Deeds"

    9NEWS of Denver, Colorado exposes squatters who attempted to steal a $400,000 home by creating bogus deeds and submitting them to a city clerk’s office.
  • The Tax Refund Scam

    All con artists need is a computer and an easily obtained list of stolen social security numbers to perpetrate a scam that has cost the U.S. Treasury billions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds. Steve Kroft reports on this scam that is getting out of hand because the IRS hasn't found a way to stop it.
  • A Hollywood Fraud

    CBS News investigated a securities scam by movie producers who convince Americans across the country to invest their savings in risky movie investments with the promise of huge returns. The story originated with a tip from a longtime law enforcement source about how people were being ripped off to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars for years through movie investment scams.
  • 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.
  • The Town that Medicare Built

    The waste and scams involving the Medicare system - taxpayer-paid health care for seniors - are estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars. So the ABC News Investigative Team took their undercover cameras and a producer's 82 year-old grandmother to one of the major hotbeds of Medicare fraud in the country to see firsthand how it can happen. The result was a fascinating glimpse into a world that had, until then, been relegated to government statistics and press releases. Viewers saw how a simple trip to the doctor's office can result in a diagnosis for illnesses that don't exist and expensive treatments that are not needed, all at the expense of taxpayers.
  • Questionable Coverage

    “Questionable Coverage” was a hidden camera investigative report about systematic health insurance scams affecting victims in nearly every state. As a direct result of our reporting, two companies ceased operations, a third has been sanctioned, and insurance regulators in Georgia and New York have launched their own investigations into the fraud.