by Brian Mahany
Because we have a thriving offshore tax law practice, we read many foreign newspapers. This morning I was happily surprised to read the Irish Central and see Sean FitzPatrick, former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, wearing handcuffs and being lead into a Dublin criminal courtroom by uniformed cops.
FitzPatrick ran Anglo Irish bank until it went under and was taken over by the government. It’s collapse reportedly cost Irish taxpayers $39 billion.
Prosecutors say that FitzPatrick committed bank fraud by knowingly making false statements to auditors and concealing millions in loans. According to a published reports, he is charged with 12 counts of knowingly or recklessly making “false, misleading or deceptive statements.”
If U.S. prosecutors were only so bold!
Can you imagine if the CEO of Bank of America or Wells Fargo or our favorite bad boys, Jim Hodge of Allied Home Mortgage and Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide were held criminally responsible for every misleading statement made by them? Bank fraud is a serious problem in the United States but very few bankers have been criminally prosecuted here.
To date, American prosecutors have been satisfied with cease and desist orders and monetary penalties. The Irish authorities, however, have elevated bank fraud and corporate responsibility to an entire new level. Back in the U.S., seeing the senior management of a major bank deemed doing the perp walk into a Manhattan courthouse would certainly send a message to bankers and Wall Street.
Unfortunately, in the United States are bank CEO’s are apparently “too big to jail.”
Although prosecutors have not convicted any of the big players of bank fraud yet, the government has been actively prosecuting false claims act cases. That allows the average Joe with inside information to be awarded a percentage of what the government collects from fraudsters. Direct suits against banks have also done well – just about every juror nationwide knows a horror story told by a friend facing a foreclosure or trying to get their loan modified through the HAMP program.
Big banks and mortgage companies are rife with corruption and mismanagement. When taxpayers suffer, however, private citizens have the right to intervene and bring their own action in the name of the United States government. These so called whistleblower suits generate tens of millions of dollars worth of cash awards.
If you have inside information about bank fraud or other improprieties by financial institutions or if you have a claim for an improper mortgage foreclosure, denial of a HAMP loan or were otherwise treated unfairly by a lender, give us a call. Our firm represents the whistleblower in the largest pending false claims act case in the country; HUD’s $2.4 billion case against Allied Home Mortgage. Under current law, the whistleblower whose information helps the government recover its losses could earn up to 30% of what the government collects.
For more information about bank fraud or becoming a whisteblower, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept in strict confidence.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland, Maine; Detroit, Michigan; Minneapolis, Minnesota and coming soon, San Francisco, California.