Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center has successful first year of cracking down on crime
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - One of the state’s newest crimefighting divisions is based in East Texas.
From gas pump skimmers to credit card fraud, the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center in Tyler is already hitting a major milestone.
“We’re the only state that has a center like this, the only state with a Financial Crimes Intelligence Center,” says Smith County criminal district attorney Jacob Putman. “It was an area that needed to happen so that these smarter-than-your-average criminals could get caught, and they’re doing a good job of that.”
The Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center, or FCIC, prevented just under $50 million in monetary losses due to fraud in Texas. They also recovered 396 credit card skimmers.
The center, which opened a year ago, is the first of its kind in the United States.
Director and chief investigator for the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center, Adam Colby, says the center has been proven to be successful.
“We’ve identified over 200 suspects for law enforcement around the state and help them make their arrests; we’ve coordinated well over a hundred multi-jurisdictional investigations, thousands of phone calls and emails back and forth with law enforcement within the financial, retail and fuel sector.”
According to a statement from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, beyond gas pump skimming, the FCIC has recorded an astronomical amount of fraud from other types of credit card skimming committed by foreign nationals including ATM and point-of-sale skimming that specifically targets state benefit cards.
Colby says most of what the center deals with is transnational organized financial crime.
“So what you’re dealing with are criminal elements in organizations that are coming to the United States to specifically prey on Americans and in this case, Texans, and we’re preventing a lot of that from happening,” says Colby.
The center was created by a House Bill in the 87th Texas legislature and operates as a partnership between the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Smith County District Attorney’s office.
Putman says the FCIC has a bright future.
“Members of the state legislators, and the governor’s office and the lieutenant governor’s office have taken notice. They want to help this center expand, they want to broaden the reach so they can prevent even more fraud and make Texas the safest place for citizens and businesses to operate.”
The center’s two-year budget is over $2.5 million. Within the next year and a half they expect to more than triple their staff.
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