A government watchdog has launched “almost 20” criminal investigations related to the $700 billion financial bailout program, says a report to Congress quoted by USA Today. Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the rescue program, says the probes involve possible public corruption; corporate, stock and tax fraud; insider trading; and mortgage fraud.
The special inspector general’s office is focusing on possible wrongdoing by recipients of money under the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). “Those who make intentional misrepresentations in the TARP application process or in their financial reporting to Treasury may be in violation of several criminal statutes,” the report says. Barofsky told National Public Radio one probe involves bank officials who were allegedly “cooking their books” to qualify for rescue funds. He did not name the bank. Attorney Charles Clark of Kirkland & Ellis said banks that got TARP money worry that they could be prosecuted for conduct they thought was legal at the time.