January 24th, 2012. President Obama addressed the nation in his State of the Union speech and told Americans that those responsible for the housing market crash would be held responsible. While few bankers have been sent to prison – and none from America’s “Too Big To Jail” banks – whistleblowers have helped the Justice Department collect billions from Wall Street and the financial industry.
President Obama said last year, “In 2008 the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages were sold to people who could not afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way or did not have the authority to stop the bad behavior. It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt and left innocent hard working Americans holding the bag.” (Watch the complete speech here.)
Whistleblowers have been one of the few bright spots in the government’s pledge to hold bankers accountable for the mess they created. Millions of Americans still face foreclosure or are underwater on their mortgages and regulators still struggle to fix the foreclosure crisis that paralyzed our nation. Prosecutors at the Justice Department, however, armed with inside information from concerned whistleblowers, have brought claims against lenders across the United States.
Federal prosecutors are using both the False Claims Act and FIRREA – the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. That is important since both laws allow whistleblowers to receive cash awards for their information.
Whistleblowers send a message to the companies that employ them that crime does not pay. Big banks received billions in bailout money and government guaranties. While some lenders and mortgage companies acted responsibly and used bailout funds to help homeowners, create jobs and strengthen the economy, others simply continued with business as usual.
Both the federal False Claims Act and FIRREA allow whistleblowers who come forward and report fraud to receive a percentage of whatever the government collects. Some whistleblowers have received over $100 million for their efforts!
If you wish to become a whistleblower and think you have inside, non-public information, give us a call. We represent whistleblowers and help them stop fraud and collect the largest award possible.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Portland, Maine and San Francisco, California. Services available in many jurisdictions.
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Posted by Brian Mahany, Esq.