Washington (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder agreed Thursday to find out and promptly report what actions, if any, were taken by the Justice Department after a 2004 FBI warning of a looming financial crisis.
Under pressure from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Holder promised to advise the panel by the end of January whether the government heeded the warning from an assistant FBI director that the growing mortgage fraud caseload could signal a problem with potentially wide economic repercussions.
The bipartisan commission appointed by Congress is trying to determine the precise causes of the nation's financial crisis, and believes mortgage lending practices were instrumental in the economy's near-meltdown.
Holder announced the number of pending mortgage fraud investigations has now grown to more than 2,800. FBI Director Robert Mueller said last September the number of pending cases had increased to 2,600. That was up from 436 mortgage fraud cases in fiscal year 2003, before such fraud cases started to balloon.
Holder on Thursday said an expected increase of 50 FBI agents and 150 lawyers will help bolster investigations into major mortgage fraud and corporate financial fraud.
Holder and other government officials testified Thursday in the second day of public hearings by the commission on Capitol Hill.