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FBI Arrests 120 in Massive New York Fraud Case

Aired June 14, 2000 - 2:03 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Organized crime and Wall Street are two things rarely uttered in the same breath; not anymore. Federal agents today announced the arrests of members of all five New York Mafia families in what they say is the largest securities fraud case in United States history.

Allan Dodds Frank is watching that story from New York -- Allan.

ALLAN DODDS FRANK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, a busy day apparently for the FBI, because it took more than 600 FBI agents this morning to round up 120 people who are being charged in this securities fraud scheme. Now, it covered the waterfront of the bad things they are alleged to have done, and it cost investors $50 million at least over the last five years.

And what's amazing about this case, as you mentioned, is the involvement of organized crime. The FBI managed to get an alleged organized crime associate infiltrated into something that was posing as an investment bank, but was actually at the center of this scheme to pump stocks, inflate the prices, and take investors. There are also 57 brokers charged with being -- taking bribes and engaging in other illegal activity; and 30 officers of publicly traded corporations involved in this scheme.

It was quite complex, but essentially it amounted to pumping up stock prices and selling them to ordinary investors, using the Internet and Web sites to promote the stocks to unsuspecting investors, and finally, involving union pension funds. And the organized crime figures allegedly set up a deal where, in one case, the pension funds, 20 percent of the money invested was supposed to be sent to offshore bank accounts and then back to the crime family.

WATERS: All right, Allan, we're going to have to interrupt you.

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