20 Crime Probes Launched Into Bailout Fraud

Inspector calls TARP 'inherently vulnerable' to insider trading, abuse
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2009 6:59 AM CDT
Neil M. Barofsky, special inspector general for TARP, waits to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24,2009, before a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Federal authorities have begun 20 separate investigations into possible fraud, tax violations, insider trading, and other criminal activities surrounding Henry Paulson's $750 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, reports the Los Angeles Times. It's only the first round of probes, according to the bailout program's inspector general, who called TARP "inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse."

The total fraud surrounding TARP could hit tens of billions of dollars, and the increasing complexity of the bailout is providing further opportunities for impropriety. The inspector’s report did not detail who is under investigation, but it did recommend scrapping one TARP program particularly vulnerable to fraud, in which the federal government stumps up as much as 92.5% of the price of toxic assets.