Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

With end of TARP, investigations into fraud take center stage

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SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/BAROFSKYWhile the much maligned $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) has officially ended, not everything has wrapped up — auditors are just starting to hit their stride investigating scores of cases of possible malfeasance.

Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the program, nicknamed SIGTARP, said his office has more than 120 criminal investigations underway. They are looking into whether the money loaned to financial institutions and automakers was used properly or not, if there was fraud in applications for TARP financial backing and other wrongdoing.

“Our focus on investigations is growing and that’s an area where we are definitely in a ramp-up phase,” Barofsky told the Reuters Washington Summit. “The crimes that have been committed were committed in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The most common statute of limitation for fraud is five years and there’s a reason for that, it takes a while for these type of sophisticated while collar investigations … to hit, for fraud to be discovered and it takes a while to investigate them.”

Barofsky lamented that finding experienced people willing to come to work for a temporary agency was proving to be a challenge.

SEC’s Schapiro says journalist job cuts worrying

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Mary Schapiro, America’s new top cop for the securities industry, said the current mass culling of journalists’ jobs is a concern because it could reduce the number of leads that regulators get as they seek to crack down on nefarious behavior.

“It’s an absolute worry for me because I think financial journalists have in many cases been the sources of some really important enforcement cases and really important discovery of practices and products that regulators should be profoundly concerned about,” the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission told the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit in Washington on Tuesday.

NFL exec: Most of our players are good guys

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The NFL is getting a lot of gruff over the fact that some of its players have been taking the “bad boy” persona a wee bit too far. But the league says that most of its players know that violence belongs on the field; not at home, in bars or, say, crossing state lines.

Eric Grubman, the NFL’s top business executive, declined to comment on the incident involving New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress — who shot himself this past weekend.

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