Law enforcement is “outmanned and outgunned” by criminals using the latest technology to commit white-collar crimes, according to attorney Maranda Fritz, a former senior counsel in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
“Individuals can use technology to access and target victims in the U.S., but the government is literally walking away from these cases because [prosecutors] can’t figure out how to gather evidence, analyze it, and reach the [perpetrator],” said Fritz, now a partner in the white-collar crimes practice in the New York office of Hinshaw & Culbertson.
The sheer quantity of electronic evidence can be overwhelming for investigators, she said.
Fritz described one fraud case she defended in which the government seized a company’s computer hard drives. But the court tossed that evidence and dismissed the case because the government hadn’t processed the hard drives upon seizure, as required.
When a member of the U.S. attorney’s office was asked later why they hadn’t processed the evidence right away, “The guy said simply, ‘We don’t have the resources you think we have,’ ” according to Fritz.
She also said crooks are getting smarter. The prosecutor’s evidence of choice used to be email or phone wiretaps, she explained.
“But I no longer see clients using email,” Fritz said. “Now they use text messaging or Skyping. The government doesn’t have the ability to capture most texting or Skyping.”
Clients, she said, have enormous sophistication. “But the government—including the Securities and Exchange Commission—seems clumsy and way behind the curve. They simply don’t have the resources to bring in tech-savvy individuals to keep up with what’s going on.”
Fritz spoke as part of a conference call presented by the firm on Tuesday, discussing trends in white-collar crime and investigations.
Other speakers included: