Stories

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

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Search results for "scam" ...

  • Inventors Suing InventHelp Want to Know Why George Foreman Represents the Company

    Customers of InventHelp paid thousands of dollars – many took out loans through a company associated with InventHelp – sinking into debt without ever realizing either product or profit.
  • 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.
  • inewsource: Hustling Hope

    inewsource spent months investigating how a California lawyer built a national network of Trina Health clinics to perform what he calls a “miraculous” treatment for reversing the complications of diabetes, even though medical experts consider it a scam that harms patients. Senior healthcare reporter Cheryl Clark tells the story of a couple in rural Montana who invested their life savings into opening their own clinic, in part so the husband could get the treatments locally for his diabetes. Less than two years later, the clinic was shuttered as health insurers refused to pay for the treatment and its founder came under federal investigation. He pleaded guilty in January 2019 to public corruption charges related to his Trina Health operation in Alabama.
  • Charity "Scam" Uncovered

    A tip leads Investigative Reporter Hillary Lake to discover the Ohio State Auditor’s office had shut down a charity that funded a “Shop with a Cop” program, but one man was using the charity’s name to continue to collect money. The investigation reveals more than $150,000 was stolen from thousands of victims over several years. Prosecutors were able to shut down the operation after they arrested the man who was collecting money, and say more arrests are likely.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Traffickers: The Girl in the Window

    The Traffickers is an investigative documentary series which traces the global trafficking routes of some of the world’s most sought after commodities: Gold, exotic animals, sex, even human body parts - anything can be bought for a price. The aim was ambitious - to give an exclusive guide to the global black market world, with high production values, excellent cinematography, dynamic story-telling and outstanding journalism. The series is presented by Nelufar Hedayat, who herself was trafficked as a child refugee from war-torn Afghanistan. During the course of filming, Nelufar visited 22 different countries, criss-crossing the world to follow the story. The Dark Side of Adoption reveals how American couples adopting babies from the DRC can be caught up in an adoption scam which hoodwinks unsuspecting parents into giving up their children.
  • Federal Whistleblower Program Fails to Protect

    From airlines to pipelines, they are the workers on the front lines who speak up when systems break down. An NBC Bay Area investigation reveals that the federal program designed to protect whistleblowers who raise red flags about public health, environmental violations and corporate wrongdoing, is failing to meet its mission. Insiders say that puts all of us at risk. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Federal-Whistleblower-Investigator-Fired-After-Blowing-the-Whistle-on-His-Own-Agency-332240782.html http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/OSHA-Dismisses-Majority-of-Whistleblower-Cases-Agency-Investigates-332258162.html http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/OSHA-Whistleblower-Investigator-Blows-Whistle-on-Own-Agency--293711041.html
  • A False Diamond: Reverse Mortgage Series Leads to Statewide Reform

    This series exposed the reverse mortgage/home repair scam Chicago businessman Mark Diamond had perpetrated for decades against elderly black homeowners on the city’s South and West Sides. The project also revealed the civil justice system’s toothlessness and raised pointed questions about how much havoc one person can wreak in the civil sphere before facing any criminal consequences. The project sparked a hearing by a state senator, media pickup, the filing and passage of state legislation and community action.