How Can I Report Public Corruption?

You know that public corruption exists. The recent cases involving
FirstEnergy in Ohio and  Commonwealth Edison Company in Illinois have shown how elected officials can (and do) exchange their integrity for a lot of money. What you might not know is that you can do something about it.

Public Corruption- What It is and the Damage It Does

Public corruption happens when government officials breach the public’s trust by using their office for personal gain. The most frequent examples include:

  • Soliciting or accepting bribes 
  • Contract fraud
  • Embezzlement 
  • Extortion
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Misconduct
  • Regulatory law violation

Under federal law, it is illegal for any government official to request or accept anything of value in exchange for (or due to) an official action. Some estimates claim that these acts of public corruption cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year, so uncovering and prosecuting them are a priority for both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in your state.  

What makes these crimes so hard to detect is that they’re secretive. Instead of using official channels, they’re accomplished via off-the-record conversations and money paid under the table. Some arrangements can go on for years and do irreparable damage in terms of lost revenue and diminished public trust.

What is the First Thing You Should Do If You Have Evidence of Public Corruption?

If you uncover texts, emails, financial records, or other evidence of government misconduct, you have the option of reporting it to one of the following entities, depending on the government office involved.

  • Municipal law enforcement
  • County police
  • State police
  • FBI

If you feel you need to go to the FBI, you can call one of its regional corruption hotlines or go to your local field office and speak to the public corruption supervisor. They will assess the situation and determine the best course of action based on the information you’ve provided.

If you work for the government, you may be concerned about issues like workplace retaliation and reprisals. This is why anonymous complaints are usually accepted, although it’s helpful if the agency knows how to contact you if they have follow-up questions. Most law enforcement agencies will do everything possible to honor a request for confidentiality.

You Can Make a Difference

Can you stop public corruption entirely? No. By bringing a case to the attention of the authorities, however, you can make a difference. In an era when the truth is often concealed by gatekeepers with their own agenda, crimes against the U.S. taxpayer and the government can often only be revealed by courageous citizens like yourself.

At STARNet, our member law firms use a unique combination of legal acumen and investigative skills to locate and recover the proceeds from acts of public corruption, both locally and on a global scale. We help government organizations pursue corruption cases against current and former public officials and other parties involved, but to do that, we need your help. For more information, contact the Stolen Asset Recovery Network today.

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STARNet, which is short for Stolen Asset Recovery Network, is a global alliance of independent law firms created to provide financial institutions and governments with multi-disciplinary services across countries and jurisdictions for locating, freezing, and ultimately recovering stolen assets related to cyber heists, fraud or corruption.

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