Bank and Thrift Fraud:

Overview of the Federal Government's Response

T-GGD-92-12: Published: Feb 6, 1992. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 1992.

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GAO discussed: (1) the role of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Special Counsel for Financial Institution Fraud; and (2) resources allocated for investigation and prosecution of financial institution fraud. GAO noted that: (1) Congress provided DOJ with significant additional powers and resources to address the savings and loan crisis, and the work load associated with that mandate continues to grow; (2) the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating more than 8,400 financial institution fraud cases as of September 30, 1991, and has experienced a 54-percent increase in its case load since 1987; (3) DOJ appointed a Special Counsel to supervise and coordinate matters concerning financial institution fraud and ensure that adequate resources are available to investigate and prosecute financial crimes; (4) the Special Counsel has made important strides, but his ability to carry out his responsibilities is constrained by limited management authority and information; (5) both supervisory examiners and Internal Revenue Agents are critical to effective bank and thrift fraud investigations, but the Special Counsel has little information on how many such personnel are involved in those investigations; and (6) there are no measurable criteria with which to evaluate the results of the DOJ program to combat criminal bank thrift fraud. GAO also noted that the government needs a unified effort to attack a crisis of this magnitude and scope.

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