It is unlikely that you have never heard of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or F.B.I. Not only is the F.B.I. the most visible of all the federal law enforcement agencies but F.B.I. agents are also a common addition to Hollywood crime dramas that involve murder, mayhem, and national conspiracies. Hollywood, however, does not always do a good job of portraying the F.B.I., often taking liberties with regard to how the agency operates and what agents actually do. In the event that an F.B.I. agent comes looking for you at some point you may find yourself wondering “ What crimes does the F.B.I. investigate? ” A better understanding of what crimes the F.B.I. really focuses on may help you figure out why they want to speak to you.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has three national security priorities and five criminal priorities which, collectively, dictate what types of crimes the agency investigates. The three national security priorities include:
- Terrorism – the F.B.I. investigates acts or threats of both national and international terrorism as well as weapons of mass destruction.
- Counterintelligence – this involves investigations into espionage, or “spying”. The F.B.I. investigates counter-espionage, economic espionage, and counter-proliferation.
- Cyber Crimes – this is a relatively new area for the agency. With the rapid growth of the internet and advances in electronic technology, cyber-crimes have become big business in the United States. The F.B.I. investigates identity theft, internet fraud and computer intrusions, or “hacking”.
The five criminal priorities on which the F.B.I. focuses include:
- White collar crime – this includes a long list of crimes typically committed by “white collar” professionals. Corporate fraud, insider trading, money laundering and antitrust crimes are just a few examples of offenses investigated by the “white collar” section of the F.B.I.
- Organized crime – the mafia is still alive and operating in the United States. Whether it is the Italian, Russian, or Mexican “mafia”, organized crime continues to be a problem in the U.S. and the F.B.I. continues to try and investigate them.
- Civil rights – the F.B.I. is responsible for investigating things such as hate crimes and human trafficking rings operating in the U.S.
- Public corruption – both fraud within the government and fraud in the election process fall within the purview of the F.B.I.
- Violent crime and major thefts – crimes against children, including online predators, are investigated by the F.B.I. In addition, major thefts such as the theft of valuable art or gems, may cause the F.B.I. to become involved.
If you believe you are under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation you need to protect yourself immediately by contacting an experienced Massachusetts federal criminal defense attorney. The F.B.I. operates differently than a local law enforcement agency. For this reason, you need an attorney who is familiar with how the F.B.I. operates and who has experienced defending federal crimes.