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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

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  • Something Suspicious in District 9

    Allegations of fraud led North Carolina’s Board of Elections to refuse to certify November election results from the 9th Congressional district. Our investigation revealed a complex ballot-harvesting operation, with people paid to collect absentee ballots from voters -- an act that is illegal in North Carolina.
  • 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.
  • Rocky Mountain PBS: Cultivating Crime

    “Cultivating Crime” took a deep dive into the underground world of illegal marijuana in Colorado. Coloradans thought legalizing marijuana would destroy the black market, but our investigation found it did the opposite. We revealed how law enforcement says Colorado is now a magnet for organized crime with international ties. Our investigation found that criminal prosecutions linked to the cultivation, conspiracy, and possession with intent to distribute of large amounts of marijuana increased dramatically after Colorado voters legalized the drug. Law enforcement officials said Colorado’s laws allowing home cultivation of marijuana opened the door for criminal organizations to move in from other parts of the world to grow large amounts of plants, under the cover of legalization, for sale in other states at much higher prices.
  • PublicSource: Revelations of police technology problems spark FBI scrutiny, alleged retaliation and unfinished work

    For the first time, PublicSource reported how Pittsburgh's reform-minded police chief touched off an FBI investigation into how city employee's handled software contracts. Included were projects that were never implemented by 2018, though they were fully paid for five years earlier using federal funds. The federal investigation ended without any charges, but internal investigations in the city were ongoing. A former officer also claims he faced retaliation for reporting concerns about tech projects, specifically from one of the city's highest ranking public safety officials. He is currently suing the city over several of the same concerns first publicly reported in our stories. Our stories led directly to internal changes in city purchasing and increased scrutiny of purchasing by City Council.
  • ProPublica: Unprotected

    Katie Meyler leveraged the internet and a compelling story to launch a charity to educate vulnerable Liberian girls and save them from sexual exploitation. ProPublica revealed how, as Meyler gained international plaudits and fundraised over $8 million, girls as young as 10 were being raped by founding staff member Macintosh Johnson, with whom Meyler had a sexual relationship. The charity then misled donors and the public about what had happened, failed to safeguard all his possible victims even once they knew Johnson had AIDS when he died, and later abandoned to prostitution at least one of the girls who had testified against him in court.
  • 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.
  • News4 I-Team: Injection Injuries

    This series examined the devastating effects of shoulder injuries from shots given incorrectly. We found those injuries now account for half of all the new cases in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program- which was initially created to help victims injured by what's inside the syringe, not mistakes made by the shot-giver. We calculated that the federal agency which administers the program has quietly paid out $76 million for those injuries, without ever telling the shot-givers they did it incorrectly.
  • NBC News: Taxpayers Financing Slumlords: Under Ben Carson, more families live in HUD housing that fails health and safety inspections

    In a three-month investigation, NBC News found that a growing number of families – more than 47,000 - were living in horrid conditions subsidized by taxpayers in properties regularly inspected by HUD; after we started asking questions, HUD announced an overhaul of its inspection system and said it is now planning to toughen inspections, which will impact millions of low-income American families.
  • KyCIR: Despite Calls For Help, Bedbugs Infest Louisville Public Housing Complex

    Residents of a high-rise public housing complex for the elderly complained for years about the bedbugs. It was a relentless infestation that the housing authority paid little attention to, and the city’s code enforcement officers insisted they weren’t responsible for. Jacob Ryan used data and interviews with residents to show that the issue was pervasive -- and ignored.
  • KyCIR: A Louisville Family Reported Sexual Abuse By A Coach. He Worked With Kids For 15 More Years

    When he was 17 years old, Eric Flynn confided to his parents that his coach, Drew Conliffe, had sexually abused him dozens of times over a period of at least two years. Conliffe and his father, a former elected county attorney, paid the family for years for their silence. He apparently escaped serious consequences, despite two police investigations, even though dozens of people and several Louisville institutions knew about the allegation. In the wake of our investigation, several more alleged victims came forward.