Special Agent in Charge (SAC) James Casey of the FBI’s Jacksonville Division, together with U.S. Attorneys Pamela C. Marsh, Northern District of Florida, and Robert E. O’Neill, Middle District of Florida, announced today a major initiative designed to solicit the public’s help in identifying and targeting public corruption.
Public corruption is a breach of the public's trust by government officials—whether elected, appointed, or under contract—and/or private individuals who use their public office for personal gain. It is a violation of federal law for any federal, state, or local government official to ask for or receive anything of value in exchange for, or because of, any official act. Under federal law, the person who offers or pays a bribe is also guilty. These crimes are the result of deals sealed with whispered conversations, quick handshakes, and "under-the-table" money. Because of the secretive nature of bribes, such crimes are often difficult to detect and even more difficult to prove without the assistance of concerned citizens. As a result, we have set up a public corruption hotline for reporting tips at 1-888-722-1225.
Details regarding the various types of public corruption investigated by the FBI can be found online at the following address: http://jacksonville.fbi.gov/priorities.htm
One area of growing concern over the last year has been contract fraud associated with the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), otherwise known as “stimulus money.” The state of Florida is slated to receive $19.9 billion of stimulus money. Of that total, it is estimated that $9.4 billion in contracts have already been awarded, almost half of which will be spent within the territory of the FBI’s Jacksonville Division (North Florida, the Panhandle, and the Capital Region).
Citizens may report concerns via the following methods:
Via e-mail at: Jacksonville@ic.fbi.gov. Place “Public Corruption Tip” in the Subject line; or
FBI Jacksonville Public Corruption Tip Line: 1-888-722-1225.
In connection with this initiative, advertisements will also appear in selected local newspapers during the coming weeks.
Public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority, and we rely heavily on public assistance in identifying potential wrongdoing by public officials, and any information—no matter how insignificant it may seem—is important.
SAC Casey encouraged citizen involvement: “The vast majority of elected and appointed officials render honest service. But we encourage the public to help us hold accountable those who use their positions for their own enrichment, and those contractors who misuse the taxpayers’ money.”
U.S. Attorney Marsh said, “Prosecution of public corruption is a top priority of this office. Those whom the public entrusts with authority must serve their constituents with integrity and honor. Greed and self-interest have no place in public service, and violations of the law will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. We look forward to joining with federal law enforcement and members of the concerned public in bringing to justice those who seek to line their own pockets at the expense of the public trust.”