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Treasury's Repo Men Take Back Tractors, Piles of Cash, and Other TARP Loot

Treasury's Repo Men Take Back Tractors, Piles of Cash, and Other TARP Loot
Photograph by Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

The Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known by the TARP acronym that recalls the frantic and frightening days of the 2008 financial crisis, has disbursed $423.4 billion to banks, auto manufacturers, securities dealers, and even some homeowners involved in the Obama administration’s loan-modification effort. Along the way, nearly $5 billion in TARP and other government assistance has been lost or pilfered in connection with criminal cases, and now the U.S. Treasury is trying to get it back.

Christy Romero, TARP’s inspector general, has a broad portfolio, working with federal and state prosecutors to secure recovery judgments and take back misspent funds even in cases where banks applied for TARP money but didn’t receive it. So far investigators have seized dozens of bank accounts and properties, as well as bags of silver, a tractor, bundles of cash, Civil War memorabilia, artwork, and at least one boat.