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 "securities" ...

  • WSJ: When Wall Street Flips Municipal Bonds, Towns and Schools Pay the Price

    A yearlong investigation uncovered how Wall Street firms profit and local governments often lose out when they sell bonds in the municipal market. The Wall Street Journal combined sources to create an unprecedented database of municipal bond trades to show how the securities firms governments pay to sell their debt routinely underprice those bonds, unload them with very little risk, then often buy them back at higher prices. Those not bought back also run up in price as other securities firms snap them up and resell them.
  • Vermont Ski Resort Developers Accused of Misusing $200M in ‘Ponzi-like‘ Scheme

    VTDigger began exposing allegations of fraud at a ski resort in northern Vermont two years before the Securities and Exchange Commission brought charges last April against the developers in what is now the largest EB-5 immigrant investor fraud case in the nation’s history. After the story broke, we investigated how the state of Vermont failed to protect investors.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chris Christie, White House Ambitions and the Abuse of Power

    Chris Christie, White House Ambitions and the Abuse of Power is a series of reports on the exercise of power by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his administration. The stories investigate his administration’s use of the busiest bridge in the world to take political revenge on a small-town mayor; the operation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the political and financial benefit of his administration and his friends and donors; and the use of federal Sandy aid to strong arm the mayor of Hoboken. These reports focused national attention on a leading Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race. Plus, they established the narrative both for national and local coverage and for state and federal investigations of the administration. Most important, WNYC uncovered key information about the politicization of public entities by an elected official whose appeal to voters is based on the perception that he is above politics. Our submission for review by the IRE includes our most significant work on this story. Our reporting resulted in the forced resignation of Gov. Christie’s top man at the Port Authority, a bi-state agency that controls $8 billion in annual revenue raised largely from tolls and fares paid by commuters of this region. In addition, WNYC’s in-depth reports on the Port Authority prompted criminal investigations by the Manhattan District Attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission into the misuse of Port Authority funds. It led the United States Attorney for New Jersey to widen its investigation into conflicts of interest by David Samson, the Port Authority Chair, and a close Christie ally. And the reporting has spurred the creation of a bi-state panel to reform the Port Authority, as well as reform measures in the New Jersey and New York Legislatures.
  • Tracking Troubled Brokers

    In a broad investigation, the Journal revealed that Wall Street’s own national watchdog doesn’t make public all the regulatory red flags it has about brokers. The Journal dug up and analyzed the employment and disciplinary history of more than 550,000 of the nation’s stockbrokers. Reporters found a wide array of regulatory breakdowns. The Journal revealed that more than 1,500 people had violated rules requiring them to disclose criminal charges or bankruptcies to investors. Reporters also found more than 50,000 brokers had failed a key entrance exam – sometimes as many as a dozen times – and that those who repeatedly failed had worse disciplinary records. And the Journal identified 16 “hot spots” across the country where large numbers of troubled brokers congregate, often near elderly and wealthy investors – and showed how state securities regulators do little to target resources on these problem areas.
  • Controversial uranium mining plan

    In their two-day Journal Special Report, reporters Joe O'Sullivan and Daniel Simmons-Ritchie took a hard look at a controversial plan to resume uranium mining in South Dakota. The mining, through a process known as "in situ," is generally regarded as a cleaner and more environmentally friendly way to recover uranium. But this five-piece series revealed a host of problems at in-situ mines across the region that contradict the claims made by the company, Powertech Uranium Corp., that wants to do the mining. The stories also documented how the state of South Dakota -- through legislation curtailing mining regulations and administrative easing of other regulations -- has helped pave the way for the return of mining. By combing through Canadian securities documents, the reporters also revealed the history of Powertech Uranium Corp., which has never before operated a mine.
  • Guessing Pensions: San Jose's Fuzzy Math

    This year-long investigation exposes the Mayor of San Jose’s repeated use of an exaggerated pension projection to sell a fiscal emergency to voters and negotiate reform with unions. NBC Bay Area uncovered, for nearly a year Mayor Chuck Reed used $650 million as the future projection for city retirement costs. NBC Bay Area reviewed thousands of internal city emails and public documents and uncovered there was no calculation to back up the number. The figure was used to induce deep concessions from union members. NBC Bay Area followed the paper trail and found numerous instances where the number was used in negotiations and instances where the Mayor quoted that projection in national and local newspapers, magazines, speeches and press releases, touting the exaggerated figure as representative of the city’s dire need for pension reform, to avoid fiscal meltdown. As a result of our investigation, The city’s retirement services director abruptly retired. Mayor Reed stopped using the false projection, and a State audit confirmed what NBC Bay Area uncovered. This is part one of more than a dozen reports, focusing on multiple ethics complaints against Mayor Reed and other city officials, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, as well as the developments in the State audit.
  • District of Columbia tax office scandal

    The District of Columbia struck an unprecedented number of deals behind closed doors this year with prominent commercial property owners who had appealed their tax assessments, reducing the city's tax base by $2.6 billion. The settlements were kept from the public for months until The Washington Post started mining public records and filing FOIAs, which the city routinely denied until the newspaper's lawyers got involved. The Post also learned that city leaders had kept critical internal audits about the tax office in "draft" format to prevent their release under FOIA. Through sources, The Post obtained the undisclosed reports -- along with a dozen other audits that had been kept from public view -- and published the findings for the first time. The series prompted the City Council to change the law to require the tax office to immediately make public all of its reports -- bringing a new level of transparency to a once secretive agency. The Securities and Exchange Commission also launched a probe to see if the city had kept critical findings from audits used to determine bond ratings. The inquiry is ongoing.
  • Dark Markets

    The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of financial markets in 2012 performed a rare and extraordinary service: It exposed evidence of hidden manipulation by corporate executives and professional traders that the markets’ official government watchdogs were utterly unaware of. Reflecting potential widespread harm to millions of ordinary investors, federal prosecutors and securities regulators raced to follow the Journal stories with major investigations. A team of reporters spent six months creating a database examining how more than 20,000 corporate executives traded their own companies’ stocks over the course of eight years. What the team found was disturbing: More than 1,000 executives had generated big profits, or avoided big losses, by trading their company stock in the days ahead of corporate news announcements that led to big moves in the shares. The Journal also exposed a regulatory loophole that had helped the executives take advantage of inside knowledge ahead of other investors. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office and the Securities and Exchange Commission all launched investigations the day the Journal article appeared.