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Plenty of Fodder for the Warren Panel: TARP Program Marred by Fraud

The Troubled Asset Relief Program’s inspector general, Neil Barofsky is out with a scathing report today, contending the program already is marred by tax and securities fraud, insider trading, and other violations. Barofsky has opened 20 separate criminal probes into the alleged violations – and that’s just for starters, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The cases represent only the first wave of investigations, and the total fraud could ultimately reach into the tens of billions of dollars, according to Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the bailout program.

The disclosures reinforce fears that the hastily designed and rapidly changing bailout program run by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve is going to carry a heavy price of fraud against taxpayers — even as questions grow about its ability to stabilize the nation’s financial system.

Barofsky said the complex nature of the bailout program makes it “inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse, including significant issues relating to conflicts of interest facing fund managers, collusion between participants, and vulnerabilities to money laundering.”

Looks like TARP oversight chief Elizabeth Warren will have plenty to talk about today with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, when he testifies before her panel for the first time.

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