Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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  • CBS News: New Tax Scam Tricks

    When tax preparer Annette Kraft in Duncan, Oklahoma, checked the status of her clients' tax returns in January, she was surprised to find all of them had been rejected."The code was 902-01," she said. "That means someone else has already filed a tax return." It turns out her clients were victims of a new tax scam intended to cheat them out of their refunds, and her town was ground zero in the scam. The criminals get their hands on returns from previous years, then use that information to file new fraudulent returns on unsuspecting victims. After the refund goes into the victim's bank account, the crooks, posing as debt collectors for the IRS, follow up with a phone call claiming the refund was an error, then directing them to a fraudulent website to return the money. "I had about $9,015 more than I anticipated," said Duncan police officer David Woods. He discovered that supposed refund one day as he checked his bank balance, but it didn't make sense because he hadn't filed his taxes yet. "I didn't get my W-2 to file my taxes," Woods said. He returned the money to the government, but now the IRS says his real refund will be delayed, possibly for months. He's not alone. At the local tire shop, 49-year-old Jerry Duvall told us his $5,800 return is more than two months late. "We planned on taking care of expenses, getting caught up on bills and we counted on it," Duvall said. He missed a $200 car payment, and on the very day we spoke with him, he told us his car was getting repossessed.At least 230 of Kraft's clients have been hit and face months of delays. Taxpayers like 91-year-old Ray Prothro found out about the scam from the IRS while we were there.
  • BuzzFeed News: American Mercenaries

    This was an 8-month investigation that uncovered a privately-run assassination program in Yemen run by American Special Operations veterans and reservists working as mercenaries. Hired by the United Arab Emirates, Americans were sent to kill civilian political leaders from an Islamist party. The team, paid millions of dollars, was made up of about a dozen veterans from the most combat-skilled units America has: former SEALS, former Delta Force, and even former CIA ground branch. It was led by a charismatic former French Foreign Legionnaire who lives in the US suburbs.
  • Arizona Daily Star: Evictions

    Reporter Emily Bregel spent seven months investigating the problem of evictions and lack of affordable housing in Pima County, Arizona. The series ran in print over three days and highlighted the chaotic fall-out following an eviction, the reasons why experts said evictions were about to surge in Pima County and the City of Tucson, as well as the failures in the justice court system that deals with eviction cases. The online story also featured an introductory video created by Emily Bregel and video editor Nick Murray, an interactive map of evictions, audio clips from relevant eviction hears and multiple graphics.
  • ADG: Milking Medicaid

    A Missouri-based nonprofit became Arkansas' largest provider of Medicaid-funded mental health services by milking a flawed system that has drawn the attention of federal prosecutors — and resulted in the convictions of several former lawmakers for public bribery and conspiracy.
  • 60 Minutes: Flying Under the Radar

    On April 15th 2018, CBS News 60 MINUTES featured a two-part investigation into the safety record of one of the country’s most profitable airlines, Allegiant Air, a small, ultra-low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas. Over the course of seven months, correspondent Steve Kroft and his producers analyzed hundreds of federal aviation documents and interviewed pilots, mechanics and industry experts for a report that raised disturbing questions about the safety of Allegiant’s fleet. Although Allegiant flies less than 100 planes, our investigation found that over a 20-month period, the airline experienced over 100 serious mechanical problems, including mid-air engine failures, cabin depressurization, smoke in the cabin, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted take-offs. The incidents forced Allegiant pilots to declare 46 in-flight emergencies and 60 unscheduled landings. Our expert sources said this was a remarkably high number of incidents for an airline this size.
  • 134 Cases, $36 Million: Inside Sexual Misconduct At America's Biggest County Government

    A first-of-its-kind investigation into Los Angeles County revealed more than one hundred sexual misconduct cases that ended with settlements or judgments paid for with public funds.
  • The Intercept: Group that opposes sex work gave money to prosecutors’ offices – and got stings against johns in return

    This was an investigative piece that relied heavily on documents obtained through FOIA requests and revealed that prosecutors around the country were receiving millions of dollars in funding from an anti-prostitution advocacy group that required them in return to conduct raids on brothels and stings against sex work clients. In particular, internal documents showed that in exchange for nearly $200,000 in funding, the advocacy group essentially required the King County prosecutors’ office and their law enforcement to erroneously label criminal cases they were pursuing as sex trafficking even though there was no evidence of trafficking in these cases. At one point, the advocacy group was even allowed to edit a press release issued by the prosecutors about these cases to include terms like “sex trafficking.” Legal scholars said that the King County prosecutors may have violated their own professional codes of conduct that restricts them from making sensationalistic “extra-judicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.” My article was the first to show that the independent judgement of law enforcement in King County and other jurisdictions may have been compromised by the strings-attached funding from Demand Abolition, the anti-prostitution group.
  • Deceptive Diplomacy - Cover-up by the UN

    An international team of investigative reporters revealed how top UN officials covered up crucial information about the murder of the UN experts Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.
  • Spartan Secrets

    ESPN’s investigation of sexual assault and abuse claims involving young women and athletes broke through the oft-held defense that the problem was just one bad actor. Our original reporting on sexual abuse claims against former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, and how the university dealt with sex assault claims against student athletes, revealed systems that enabled abuse, and involved reports of widespread mishandling – and silencing – of women who said they suffered for years after reporting their assaults. The investigation went well beyond the actions of Nassar, and unveiled a widespread pattern of denial, inaction and information suppression. Michigan State in particular did not want this information out, but through requests for data, documents and a lengthy court battle, along with securing valuable sources, ESPN prevailed in getting much of what it had requested. At the height of the #MeToo movement, ESPN’s reporting gave a voice to the women who had been silenced, and exposed the failures of the people and institutions tasked with protecting them.
  • Fatal Flaws

    Kentucky's worker safety program failed to properly investigate nearly every on-the-job death for two years. The victims were tree trimmers, public-works employees, construction workers, home health aides. They died in jobs everyone knows to be dangerous and in jobs you might attend every day without considering whether you'd make it home. But in almost every case, the state's Occupational Safety and Health program didn't do enough to determine if a business was responsible for unsafe conditions — never mind actually hold them accountable.