Grassley comment on work of Special Inspector General for TARP
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Reporters and Editors
FR: Jill Kozeny, 202-224-1308 for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
RE: Special Inspector General for TARP
DA: Monday, March 15, 2010
Senator Chuck Grassley today issued the following comment about the Special
Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program filing criminal charges against
an individual for attempting to steal from the TARP.
Senator Grassley’s comment:
“This action emphasizes the importance of having a special and independent
watchdog on the job to safeguard tax dollars in the bailout program. It’s one of the ways
this inspector general has proven the value of the office. Taxpayers deserve to know
what’s happening with the money obligated to TARP, and they’re getting information
thanks to the IG’s laser-like focus on accountability.
The Special Inspector General for the program was created at the urging of
Grassley and Senator Max Baucus of Montana, and when the Treasury Department
changed the focus of the program less than a month after it began, Grassley worked with
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri to retool the Inspector General’s authority and
empower the office to adequately scrutinize TARP spending and management.
Grassley has gone to bat for the Inspector General throughout the year, when the
White House and Treasury Department put up barriers to the Inspector General asking
questions and collecting information about where the money has gone. Grassley has been
an outspoken critic about the lack of transparency with how TARP funds have been
used. Last fall, he cosponsored legislation to end the program.
Statement issued today by Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for
When Senators Max Baucus and Charles Grassley insisted that the TARP
legislation include the creation of the Office of the Special Inspector General, a brand
new law enforcement agency dedicated to policing the TARP, they did so knowing that,
with the outlay of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, that there would be those who
would be drawn, like flies to honey, to seek to criminally profit off of a national crisis.
Unfortunately, their concerns have proved justified. Today marks an important
chapter in the history of the TARP bailout with the filing of criminal charges against
Charles Antonucci, which as the US Attorney has noted, represents the first criminal
charges against an individual for attempting to steal taxpayer dollars through TARP.
As detailed in the complaint, almost immediately after Treasury announced the
details of TARP, Antonucci launched a scheme designed to fleece the American
Taxpayer of more than $11 million. SIGTARP agents, working with the talented array of
state and federal agencies represented on this podium today, worked tirelessly to untangle
Antonucci’s web of deceit to vindicate the taxpayer interest and, today, to bring
Antonucci to justice, not just for his attempt to steal from taxpayers, but also for the array
of frauds described in the complaint.
The charges filed today, unfortunately, are just the beginning of criminal charges
that we expect to see filed against both TARP applicants and recipients . The charges
should send a powerful message to other executives who have attempted to steal from
TARP or who are contemplating similar fraudulent action. The United States
Government is marshalling its resources, and you will be tracked down, you will get
caught, and you will be brought to justice. And I strongly encourage anyone who has
any knowledge of TARP fraud to contact us at our hotline at www.SIGTARP.gov or
Finally, I would like to thank all of our law enforcement partners, and in
particular the efforts of the Assistant United States Attorneys on this case, Lisa Zornberg
and Zach Feingold, for all of their hard work and commitment to our joint cause of
protecting the American taxpayer.
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