TARP Top Cop Neil Barofsky on Drug Lords and Mortgage Fraud

BY Paul Solman  August 7, 2012 at 3:24 PM EDT


On Making Sen$e lately we’ve been featuring outtakes from my encounters with especially intriguing interviewees. The most recent was Neil Barofsky, appointed by President Bush and retained by President Obama to prevent fraud in the $700 billion dollar Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). From the start, Barofsky has been acidly critical of the government’s handling of the bailout money. His chief complaint: that the banks were bailed out, not the victims of predatory lending.

Making Sense

The NewsHour aired the basic interview last Thursday, Aug. 2. This week, we present excerpts we wish we’d had time to run, including this first one — on why Barofsky took a job he didn’t want, his brush with death in his previous job (pursuing drug lords in Colombia), and what he learned prosecuting mortgage fraud before the crisis hit.

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions