Episode 151: Debra LaPrevotte – Kleptocracy, International Corruption, and Recovering Human Remains

Retired agent Debra LaPrevotte served in the FBI for 20 years. She spent most of her career working forfeiture matters and international corruption investigations. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Debra LaPrevotte reviews the initiation of the FBI’s Kleptocracy program and seizing more than $1 billion from corrupt foreign officials, including the recovering $630 million of Nigerian government funds stolen by General Sani Abacha, former President of Nigeria. Debra, who has a Master’s Degree in Forensic Science, also talks about serving for several years on the Evidence Response Team (ERT) at the Washington Field Office (WFO) and an ERT Unit at the FBI Laboratory and training at the “body farm.”

Later in her career, Debra served as a Supervisory Special Agent in the International Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters, focusing on investigating greed that fuels war crimes and atrocities. Since retiring from the Bureau, Debra LaPrevotte is a senior investigator with The Sentry, which seeks to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the network of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. They organization’s motto is “War crimes shouldn’t pay.”

Supervisory Special Agent (Retired)

Debra LaPrevotte

11/1995 – 12/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

“That’s really the picture of kleptocracy, where you have political leader who are stealing money and looking out only for themselves, much to the detriment of the people who live in that country.”  — Retired Agent Debra LaPrevotte

The following are links to FBI web stories, press releases, and newspaper articles about  regarding international corruption and kleptocracy and Nigerian General Sani Abacha and the billions of dollars he stoles from his country:

FBI.gov Website: FBI Establishes International Corruption Squads – Targeting Foreign Bribery, Kleptocracy Crimes

DOJ -Press Release 8/7/2014: U.S. Forfeits More Than $480 Million Stolen by Former Nigerian Dictator in Largest Forfeiture Ever Obtained Through a Kleptocracy Action

The Guardian – 10/5/2012: Nigerian police recover part of Sani Abacha’s $4.3bn hoard from robbers

DOJ Press release – 6/17/2015: United States Repatriates Seven Boa Constrictors to Brazil

 

According to the FBI, international corruption cases are more difficult to investigate because the criminal activity usually takes place outside of the U.S. Visit FBI.gov for more info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The FBI sent me to the body farm in Tennessee where I went to human remains recovery school. They sent me to Boston to get advanced training on how to get fingerprints from badly burned or decomposed bodies. I loved the work.”  — Retired Agent Debra LaPrevotte

The following are links to stories and videos about training held at the “body farm”at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville:

FBI.gov Website:  Bodies of Evidence – FBI Trains at Body Farm, Part 1 (VIDEO)

FBI,gov Website:  Bodies of Evidence – FBI Trains at Body Farm, Part 2 (VIDEO)

CBS – Special Report:  The Body Farm

Training at the “Body Farm” at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, pairs teams of agents with leading forensic anthropologists to learn how to best identify and excavate human remains to preserve the many clues left behind. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, attempts to relive her glory days by writing crime fiction and hosting FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast available for free subscription on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and other popular podcast apps. Her nonfiction book FBI Myths and Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives and her FBI corruption squad police procedurals featuring Special Agent Kari Wheeler are available wherever books are sold.

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