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FBI enlists 'Gordon Gekko' in financial crimes campaign

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
updated 6:39 PM EST, Mon February 27, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael Douglas appears in a 30-second PSA to help the FBI
  • Alluding to the movie "Wall Street," he calls financial crimes a real problem
  • FBI reports 241 convictions, $2.4 billion in restitution in financial crimes
  • FBI official: 250 new forensic accountants are focused on major cases

Washington (CNN) -- The FBI on Monday unveiled a videotaped message from the actor who played the infamous fictional insider trader Gordon Gekko to help bolster a wide-ranging attack on financial crimes.

At an FBI headquarters briefing on the stepped-up fight against financial misdealings, the bureau proudly showed a 30-second public service announcement featuring actor Michael Douglas. His character in the 1987 film "Wall Street," Gordon Gekko, proclaimed that "greed, for lack of a better word, is good." But in a new message to help the FBI, Douglas says, "The movie is fiction, but the problem is real."

Douglas asks viewers who suspect financial crime to contact the FBI.

A new report issued Monday by the FBI shows that in the last fiscal year, FBI investigations led to 242 indictments and 241 convictions of corporate criminals. The FBI says it secured $2.4 billion in restitution from corporate criminals. The FBI says it has increased convictions of securities and commodities fraud, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, and money laundering.

Kevin Perkins, the FBI's assistant director of the criminal investigative division, says the FBI has hired 250 new forensic accountants who are all focused on major cases.

Some of them are involved with investigations of 2,600 mortgage cases.

Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to New York on Thursday to deliver the message that the Justice Department is committed to rooting out corporate crime.

"From securities, bank and investment, to mortgage, consumer and health-care fraud, we've found that these schemes are as diverse as the imaginations of those who perpetrate them, and as sophisticated as modern technology will permit," Holder said.

Holder has emphasized the effort to combat health-care fraud schemes. In the past fiscal year more than 1,400 people were charged with fraud in 500 cases. The government has recovered more than $4 billion in health-care fraud schemes.

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