Weld County, Colorado, District Attorney Ken Buck realized how far his community would go to fight white-collar crime when he heard about a local victim independently tracking a felon who had used a false deed of trust to steal $80,000. The trail took the victim through Montana, Washington, Oregon, and finally California, where an arrest was made.
The victim as investigator was not a model Buck wanted to adopt, but “the message to me was that there is a lot of interest in the community,” says Buck. “Instead of thinking law enforcement has all the answers, the community has the answers and the willingness to help us solve these crimes.”
The real question was how to increase the resources devoted to pursuing cases. Buck took his message to the 22-bank financial services community in booming Weld County, a bedroom community of Denver. All but two have responded with both money and commitment, forming a posse-like task force and pledging to support a five-year fund. The fund is being used to hire two former federal agents who will investigate white-collar crime cases, such as check fraud, identity theft, false documentation, and embezzlement.
Buck’s strategy of enlisting private sector support to help the AG’s office fight white-collar crime is not confined to Colorado. Across the country, businesses are funding public-private efforts that can help law enforcement put an end to the growing problem of economic crime.