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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC Enforcement Staff Recognized for TARP-Fraud Investigation


Washington, D.C., Oct. 18, 2011 – The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that eight members of its staff were part of a team that today received the 2011 Award for Excellence in Investigations by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).

The award was presented for outstanding cooperation in uncovering and jointly investigating the $2.9 billion fraud scheme that contributed to the collapse in 2009 of Colonial BancGroup Inc. and Taylor, Bean &Whitaker Mortgage Corp. The SEC charged five individuals, including former Taylor, Bean & Whitaker chairman Lee B. Farkas, alleging he arranged to sell more than $1 billion of sham or worthless mortgage loans to Colonial Bank, and attempted to scam the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Farkas was found guilty of related criminal fraud charges and was sentenced in June to 30 years in prison. This year, the SEC also charged Taylor, Bean & Whitaker’s former chief executive officer and former treasurer, and a former executive and former supervisor at Alabama-based Colonial Bank.

“We are extremely proud of our staff’s work on this important case, and delighted to see their efforts honored today,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “This award highlights the enormous individual and team effort to expose frauds stemming from the financial crisis and bring wrongdoers to justice.”

SEC employees receiving the award are:

  • Suzanne Ashley, Senior Counsel to the Director of Enforcement and former detailee to the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP)
  • Rhea Dignam, Regional Director, SEC Atlanta Regional Office
  • William Hicks, Associate Regional Director for Enforcement, Atlanta Regional Office
  • Barry Lakas, Staff Accountant, Atlanta Regional Office
  • Aaron Lipson, Assistant Regional Director, Atlanta Regional Office
  • M. Graham Loomis, Regional Trial Counsel, Atlanta Regional Office
  • Michael Mashburn, Senior Investigations Counsel, Atlanta Regional Office
  • Yolanda Ross, Senior Counsel, Atlanta Regional Office

Other federal entities whose staff were honored with the award are the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General, the Justice Department, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Information about SEC enforcement actions to address misconduct that led to or arose from the financial crisis is available here: http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/enf-actions-fc.shtml




Modified: 10/18/2011