April 21st, 2009
05:10 AM ET
5 years ago

CNNMoney: TARP cop: 20 criminal probes

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, released a 250-page report detailing a long list of concerns.
Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, released a 250-page report detailing a long list of concerns.

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) – The top cop tracking the government's $700 billion bailout program said Tuesday that he has opened 20 criminal investigations and six audits into whether tax dollars are being pilfered or wasted.

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, released a 250-page report detailing a long list of concerns about government efforts to prop up hundreds of banks, Wall Street firms and auto companies.

Barofsky, whose investigations could lead to criminal charges, told CNNMoney.com in an interview that he wants taxpayers to understand where their money is going. At the same time, he wants to alert officials to weaknesses in TARP that could invite corruption or fraud.

"Our recommendations are forward looking and there are no vulnerabilities that can't be addressed," Barofsky said. "The balance of what we're trying to do is to inform, bring transparency and make appropriate recommendations."

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Filed under: Economy • TARP
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Aliou the real man

    Bank of America Corp. dropped the most in almost two months of New York trading after the company announced record profits, Accounte for mostly by stripping credit card holder of their credit limits, putting $ billions in over the limit fees into company profits. The company received tarp money to "encourage consumption by easing credit". What have they done so far?

    Bank of america cut my $12000 credit limit to 2500, right over the 2403 dollars I owe the bank, putting me vulnerable to over the limit and preventing me to use the card any more. It also refuses to help home owners, who are having difficulty.

    Yet Bank of america took the money from tax payers. Is that patriotic? it should be criminal to swindle the government, taxpayers and refuse to deliver, and to help the economy recover.

    April 21, 2009 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  2. today

    of course the money has been wasted, it was given to the very ones that caused the problem to start with, (banks, ins. companies, car companies,etc.) not to the people who needed it, these companies are selfish, they only helped themselves, America has stopped buying because we have nothing to buy with, why not put the money where it's needed, with the American taxpayer.

    April 21, 2009 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  3. tee

    If they are found guilty of fraud, the should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Not the same old slap on the wrist that white men usally get.

    April 21, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I love the transparency. The taxpayer needs to see where exactly the money is going.

    April 21, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. rhoward

    Should anyone be surprised that there is fraud involved here? After all, this program was shoved down our throats with threats of doom and gloom with little time to evaluate its necessity and no real oversight.

    April 21, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  6. phoenix86

    Barny Frank and Chris Dodd better be on that criminal investigations list. They started all this.

    April 21, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  7. Elliott

    I have a house picked out and I have been waiting for 19 weeks to close on it. I've been approved for the loan for 18 of those 19 weeks. The problem is, the house I want to purchase is a Countrywide Short Sale. Anyone here, do a Google search for Countrywide Short Sale and read it. This is where our tax dollars are going.

    I have called Washington DC and got no answer. I have TWO realtors that have been working on this everyday and they cannot get ANY answer from Countrywide. Why are we giving money to Bank of America, when 40% of all the houses on the market today are in Short Sale status or Foreclosure?

    These banks are sitting on a whole bunch of money and WE are paying them more. There are thousands of families who want to purchase a house, but due to this inefficiency on some banks behalf, they can't.

    CNN – You need to post this AND perhaps do a story on this as well. This needs national attention RIGHT NOW..........

    April 21, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  8. Ernesto

    This is a great case for implimenting Capital Punishment for "white collar" crime. This country deserves to be rid of these criminals.

    April 21, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. sick of the bailouts

    What kills me is that this is so predictable. I really hope they investigate the members of congress that have been steering money to benefit their friends and family. A good example is Sen Feinstein of California. She steered 25 million of housing bailout money to a firm that just got a contract with her husband. Isn't this a conflict of interest? Where is the justice in this? I wish I could just have Uncle Sam write checks out to my family members, it sure would make Christmas shopping alot easier.

    April 21, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  10. Anonymous

    lets see if anything even comes of this
    its just like when gas gouging was going on
    there were supposed to be strict penolties
    but you never heard one case

    April 21, 2009 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This program was started under the Bush administration. What do you expect. They would set up a program and let businesses do what they want - because they believe that businesses will do the moral thing! What a joke.

    The problem is that it was done just a little too quickly. It was also started under Bush who didn't care about it really. He was just trying to look like he was doing something; not that he really knows what he is doing anyhow.

    April 21, 2009 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  12. Mississippi Mike

    I hope he's going after the legislators who drafted and passed TARP. They are the ones who stole our money and wasted it.

    April 21, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  13. Cleo

    I understand we have a check and balance government, but why is Neil Barofsky looking into the bailout money now? He was hired by President Bush last November and Neil Barofsky did not seem very concern when President Bush administration handled the Bailout money...It seems the Republicans finally has an man inside to control their ideas for them...Neil's job is to control fraud, but the biggest fraud was the Bush administration...It seems everyone is trying to stop the change President Obama is doing in Washington...I understand the rich does not want government in their business, but they want the government aka the people to pay for their greed. If Wall Street was regulated a long time ago..than we would not be in this mess!

    April 21, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  14. New Hampshire

    20 Criminal Probes.......big shock there...NOT!

    April 21, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. Minnesotan

    Good work! Republicans would have never put any oversight into any spending project.

    April 21, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  16. Saad

    That's great but the problem is what about the rest of the 20,000 who will not be caught. Human greed in a capitalistic environment is a menace too large to be effectively managed. That's what got us here in the first place.

    April 21, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  17. ken

    And just imagine all the money that's wasted that they won't find out about...

    April 21, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  18. Washingtonian Shrugged

    We voted for accountability and transparency, this is what we are getting with Obama's adm. TARP was suppose to help the consumer by helping banks stabilize so they could start lending again. Go get em.

    April 21, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. Scott AZ

    Just when are we going to see criminal probes into the housing market scandal? Oops I forgot! the main culprits are still sitting on the committees and democrats won't go after one of their own.

    April 21, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. Michael in Houston

    I will be so surprised if thier is some convictions handed out. Otherwise I believe this is just another government dog and pony show to show us that care, which they really don't.

    April 21, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. Ken in NC

    You can believe that if these investigations lead to criminal charges, they will become political as soon as the charges are made. Democrats will say Republicans are targeting them in this investigation and Republicans will level the same charge against Democrats.

    As far as I am concerned, if the investigations lead to criminal charges the chips should fall where they may.

    April 21, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  22. obama/mama

    Transparency is good. Weed out the bad.

    April 21, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  23. JML

    Good, more accountablity is a good thing. TARP was corrupt from the get go (note the number of banks who have given back the $$ FORCED on them), but at least it's not going unnoticed or no concerns publically spoken of (like under GW Bush).

    April 21, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |