Watchdog secured 27 convictions through 55 investigations; collected $3 billion-plus in fines and more, report notes

OIG invited to join CARES Act panel to oversee $2.4 trillion in coronavirus relief

Of the 55 investigations opened by the federal insurer of bank deposits’ watchdog, 27 resulted in convictions – and others resulted in fines and restitution of more than $3 billion, the agency said in its report for Oct. 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020.

The office of inspector general (OIG) for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), in its semiannual report to Congress for the six-month period of October 2019 through March 2020, also noted it had made 134 referrals to the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorneys.

The 55 investigations, the OIG said, resulted in 39 indictments and “informations.” In addition to the 27 convictions, the OIG said, 21 arrests were made.

The $3.075 billion in total fines, restitutions and asset forfeitures were dominated by a $3.0 billion negotiated monetary settlement with Wells Fargo Bank. That settlement, the agency said, was reached to resolve criminal and civil investigations into sales practices involving the opening of millions of accounts without customer authorization at the bank.

Additionally, the agency said, $1.7 million of the total was ordered “joint and several” with other individuals sentenced during the six-month period, and $863,418 was ordered joint and several with individuals sentenced in a prior period.

In addition to its enforcement actions, the report revealed that the OIG has been invited to join the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), enacted into law March 27. This committee, the OIG said, is charged with coordinating efforts of federal inspectors general to oversee $2.4 trillion in federal emergency relief. “We look forward to working with our counterparts in the IG community on this important oversight initiative,” the report stated.

“We remain committed to serving the American people as a leader in the IG community and joining with others to navigate through these unprecedented times,” OIG Jay N. Lerner said in closing his introduction to the report.

Semiannual Report to the Congress October 1, 2019–March 31, 2020