July 30, 2009

Firm co-sponsors special conference entitled "TARP Enforcement: The New Regulatory Regime," featuring a keynote address from Neil M. Barofsky -- the Special Inspector General for TARP.

On July 28, Willkie and KPMG co-sponsored a special conference entitled TARP Enforcement: The New Regulatory Regime, featuring a keynote address from Neil M. Barofsky -- the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The conference, attended by over 200 business and legal professionals, drew significant media interest, with attendance by journalists from Associated Press, Bloomberg, Business Week, CFO, Daily Deal, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, New York Law Journal, Thomson Reuters, and Wall Street Journal, among others.

At the conference Mr. Barofsky announced that his office, which combats fraud and abuse of TARP funds, plans to more than double in size -- from roughly 70 to 160 -- by early next year. This will include doubling the number of criminal investigators on staff to about 70. Mr. Barofsky told attendees: "You can’t push out $3 trillion and not expect someone to take advantage of it." He then discussed some of the types of investigations that his office is pursuing such as investigations into "application-stage fraud," where institutions are suspected of falsifying information in order to qualify for TARP funds; "valuation fraud," involving institutions which have made false and misleading statements regarding the value of assets received as collateral by the government in exchange for TARP funds; and potential conflicts of interest on the part of investment advisers managing TARP assets. After his address, Mr. Barofsky participated in a Q&A session co-moderated by partner James Dugan and Hon. Sven Holmes from KPMG.

Additionally, the conference covered topics of concern to companies and organizations receiving TARP funds, contemplating the receipt of TARP funds, or contemplating or making investments in TARP fund recipients. The event was also highly relevant to the insurers and auditors of TARP fund recipients, those potentially doing business with TARP fund recipients, and those involved in programs such as TALF.

The program included two panel discussions: "Staying Out of the Crosshairs: Using TARP and its Related Programs" moderated by partner Michael Young, and "Under Fire: Strategies for Navigating a TARP Investigation" moderated by KPMG’s Richard Girgenti. Other Willkie participants included partners Gregory Astrachan, Richard Bernstein, Gregory Bruch and Michael Schachter.