Report: FBI Opens Fraud Investigations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI is investigating Fannie Mae (FNM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Freddie Mac (FRE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEHMQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and insurer American International Group Inc (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and their senior executives for potential mortgage fraud, CNN reported on Tuesday.

The FBI did not provide specifics but said the inquiries were part of a broader probe, CNN said.

The bureau is trying to determine whether anyone in those financial institutions, including their senior executives, had any responsibility for providing “misinformation,” CNN reported.

“As part of our investigative responsibility, the FBI conducts corporate fraud investigations. The number of cases fluctuates over time, however we do not discuss which companies may or may not be the subject of an investigation,” said Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.

A federal law enforcement official confirmed the FBI is now looking at 26 cases of potential corporate fraud related to the collapse of the U.S. mortgage lending industry.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told the U.S. Congress a week ago that 24 cases of potential corporate fraud were under investigation, up from 21 disclosed by the bureau in July.

In testimony before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, the FBI chief also vowed to pursue corporate executives if necessary in mortgage fraud cases.

Mueller said the FBI was looking at all levels of the mortgage systems. With respect to the corporate probes, which could result in federal charges, “the allegations would be there were misstatements of assets,” he said.

(Writing by Joanne Allen; Editing by Eric Walsh)