NEW YORK — Gov. Eliot Spitzer's role in a prostitution scandal grew out of a public corruption inquiry triggered by his movement of large amounts of cash from several bank accounts to one that operated by a call-girl ring, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Spitzer was the initial target of the investigation and was tracked using court-ordered wiretaps that appear to have recorded him arranging for a prostitute to meet him at a Washington hotel in mid-February, the official said.

The official spoke to The Associated Press condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

The case started when banks noticed the frequent transfers from several accounts and filed suspicious activity reports with the Internal Revenue Service, the official said. The accounts were traced back to Spitzer, prompting public corruption investigators to open an inquiry.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey was made aware of the investigation because it involved a high-ranking political official.

The inquiry found that Spitzer was a repeat customer with the Emperors Club VIP, the official said.

The Feb. 13 tryst took place in the Mayflower hotel, where Spitzer rented a second room for the woman under another name, the law enforcement official said. The official said Spitzer had to sneak past his State Police detail to get to her room.

Charges against Spitzer have not been decided and it depends mostly on "how aggressive the U.S. attorney wants to be," the law enforcement official said. Charges could including anything from Mann act violations to banking violations to possibly wire fraud.