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Former securities investigator: Financial law enforcement deterrence abilities close to nil

Computer fraud division needs ten times its current workforce

"The ability of law enforcement authorities in the state of Israel today to deter white collar offenders is nearly zilch," said the former head of the Securities Authority investigation department and now CEO of Dun and Bradstreet Israel Reuven Kuvent. Kuvent estimates the dire state of the economy and the deterrence level of the financial aw enforcement authorities will lead to a great increase of white-collar offenses in Israel in 2002.

"The growing number of workers leaving the hi-tech and finance sectors," he says, "is the main reason for this estimate."

He believes some unemployed hi-tech workers might use knowledge they acquired to commit hi-tech crime.

"In the course of the last year," said Kuvent, "thousands have become unemployed, particularly programmers, data system workers and finance specialists. They remained unemployed, and with very low chances of rejoining the workforce in the near future. This may push them to commit crime, if only for the need to provide for their families."

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"Enforcement in Israel," added Kuvent, "cannot cope with white collar crime, particularly with computer crime, since most of the police resources in the last few years have been directed at internal security."

The war against computer crime is conducted mainly by the computer department of the national fraud division that numbers five workers and which is required to handle all criminal computer activity in Israel.

To begin dealing with the growing number of computer offenses, says Kuvent, the unit needs the help of another 55 investigators.