When the next county executive takes office in December, State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly says he'll ask for more money to hire a special prosecutor to investigate fraud cases.
Cassilly said he has made the request in the past, and it has been turned down. He says an additional prosecutor is needed to combat a growing crime trend in Harford County.
"There are more and more fraud cases under investigation," Cassilly said.
"We're going to see indictments on someone for something."
A county grand jury last month indicted R. Brooke Boyle, a former car dealer, on a total of 75 charges of bilking a total of $300,000 from his customers, suppliers, banks and the state. It's one of the biggest white-collar fraud cases the county has had.
In the past, the county's fraud cases have ranged from investment scams to employee thefts to fake home-improvement offers, said Cassilly.
But investigating fraud cases is difficult, he said.
The cases are time consuming and police investigators are often pulled away to handle other crimes.
With a special prosecutor handling only fraud cases, the State's Attorney's office would not have to rely on the police to investigate them, Cassilly said.
Cassilly said he believes Harford's growing number of wealthy residents and proximity to large cities makes the county a target for scam artists.
In addition, the weakening economy and resulting business failures might turn business leaders to fraud to make an extra buck or keep their companies afloat, Cassilly said.
Meanwhile, state police have established a new program aimed at reducing telemarketing and mail fraud cases.
The Scam Awareness and Prevention Program calls for representatives from police agencies, county state's attorneys' offices and community groups to provide lectures and crime-prevention seminars.
Cassilly said residents can take several steps to protect themselves from fraud.
"It's the kind of thing that if someone gives you an offer that seems too good to be true, it is probably too good to be true," Cassilly said.
Cassilly advises people to get references and check with investors if they are offered an investment deal.