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May 30, 2019

At ALTA’s request, the House Appropriations Committee is set to direct the Department of Justice to issue a report to Congress on its efforts to combat wire fraud. This is part of Congress’ annual appropriations process that directs how government agencies spend money.

As part of this process, Congress drafts guidelines to help agencies understand its priorities when spending funds. These reports often serve as a major step in helping Congress understand the need for new laws.

Here is the report mandate:
• Real estate wire fraud – The Committee is aware of the growing problem of so-called “wire fraud” or “business email fraud” in real estate transactions. In a July 2018 public service announcement, the FBI said such crime targeted businesses and individuals in losses between 2013 and 2018, with scams being reported nationwide as well as 150 other countries. The Committee directs the Department to submit a report no later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, describing its ongoing activities to combat and raise awareness of wire fraud in real estate transactions. Additionally, the report should detail any joint activities to counter such fraud that the Department conducts with relevant federal agencies. Finally, the report should make recommendations to Congress for new legislative authority or increased funding that would help these efforts.

• Internet Crime Complaint Center – The Committee includes funding to support the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which is an online crime complaint-reporting mechanism used to report information to the FBI from either the actual victim or a third party to the complainant on any Internet-facilitated criminal activity. Information is analyzed and disseminated, for investigative and intelligence purposes, to law enforcement and for public awareness.
Additionally, the committee increases funding for the FBI and specifically highlights the IC3 as a priority. This was one of only 11 programs that were specifically listed as priorities under the FBI section of the report.

While Congress mandated these reports to come out no later than 90 days after the legislation is enacted, agencies frequently are delayed on drafting these reports. If you have any questions, contact Emily Tryon at etryon@alta.org