2004 Safety, Security and International Affairs

Samuel Holland

Pioneered efforts to hold financial industry executives accountable and deter fraudulent activity.

In recent years, our nation was rocked by an unprecedented wave of financial scandals, creating an historic threat to our national economy. The extent of the threat demanded a strong and immediate response from federal authorities to restore the public’s trust. Due to increased homeland security demands, law enforcement entities like the FBI, which had historically taken the lead in investigating certain financial crimes, could no longer devote the same level of resources to these cases, and the FBI began relying on Inspectors General to investigate fraud and abuse in government. Samuel Holland and his team at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG) stepped up to fill this gap and forged a strong partnership with the FBI to successfully investigate white-collar crimes.

Operating with a team of fewer than 40 agents, Holland has taken FDIC OIG investigative activities to new levels and has made a significant impact in combating financial institution fraud. He has leveraged his available resources by building effective partnerships with other law enforcement agencies and financial regulators and establishing an Electric Crimes Team that provides computer forensic support to investigations of financial institutional fraud. This team has become the leading organization of its kind in the financial regulatory community.

Holland’s efforts have resulted in major prosecutorial successes, with harsh sanctions for the offenders, sending an important message to others tempted to defraud our nation’s banks. Since January 2001, FDIC OIG investigations have resulted in 119 indictments, 80 convictions, court-ordered fines and restitution of more than $1.4 billion, and stiff prison sentences for white collar offenders. 

Included in these successes were the investigation and prosecution of the executives and insiders whose schemes brought about the failure of Keystone First National Bank in West Virginia, one of the ten costliest bank failures in history. Another is the successful investigation of those responsible for the collapse of the former Hartford Carlisle Bank in Iowa. Both of these institutions had long served rural communities, until they were taken over by executives and officers who turned these institutions into their personal piggy banks. As a result of FDIC OIG’s joint investigations under Holland’s leadership, those responsible for these massive frauds are now serving prison sentences ranging from 10 to 27 years. The Keystone case, in which criminals went so far as to bury records under the ground to conceal their fraud, represents the first ever criminal charge brought for obstructing a bank examination. This charge is now being used as an important tool by U.S. Attorney’s across the country in prosecuting individuals who deceive regulators by trying to cover up their crimes.

The bottom line is that Samuel Holland’s success in reinventing the Investigations arm of FDIC’s Inspector General office are putting the bad guys who are defrauding consumers behind bars. They have contributed to a restoration in public confidence and are a major deterrent to future would-be criminals. And his innovations have put more tools at the disposal of federal authorities to ensure that those who do cheat the American people will be brought to justice.