Trying to stay abreast of the newest Bank of America scandals has almost become a full time occupation. We constantly receive calls from aggrieved homeowners, other lawyers and would-be whistleblowers. As I write this, my colleague Joe Bird is in North Carolina battling the banking behemoth on behalf of homeowners who claims the bank “placed homeowners into loan modifications injurious to the homeowner but profitable to the [bank] and avoided honoring their commitments to the federal government, taxpayers and their own customers.”
After we helped the Justice Department tag Bank of America with a record breaking $16.65 billion penalty last year, we thought the bank’s behavior would improve dramatically. Any progress, however, has been slow. While there will always be lawsuits against the bank simply because it is so large ($2.1 trillion in assets), we are particularly amused by the suits brought by other banks.
Bank of America is currently defending itself in lawsuits and federal investigations involving the alleged rigging of the Libor rate. Short for the London Interbank Offered Rate, Libor is the benchmark that banks worldwide use to set interest rates. Regulators say that Bank of America rigged the Libor rate simply to increase its profits. Of course, in doing so, many others suffered.
A number of smaller banks joined forces and filed a proposed class action against Bank of America. The bank is fighting that case and asked that it be dismissed. The smaller banks have asked the federal court to reject Bank of America’s arguments and force BoA to stand trial for its alleged misdeeds.
Banks by nature are very conservative. Unlike lawyers who frequently make bold statements, most bankers are cautious, soft spoken and not prone to aggressive statements. Not in this case. The banks are angry at what they believe Bank of America has done and they aren’t afraid to say so.
In asking the court to reject Bank of America’s dismissal motion, Berkshire Bank claimed that Bank of America’s arguments “smack of arrogance.” In papers filed in a Manhattan federal court, Berkshire said, “Defendants’ arguments smack of arrogance, are unsupported in law, and are literally unbelievable.”
As a nation, we have all become desensitized to Wall Street greed and fraud. There is simply so much of it. Unless the case involves billions of dollars, no one even seems to notice anymore. That sad state of affairs wasn’t lost on Berkshire. “While the revelation in recent years of defendants’ fraud following the unprecedented collapse of the world financial market has made it all too easy now to be cynical, reasonable people may have doubted in 2008 that defendants could have devised a scheme the scope and size of which had previously been associated only with movie villains,” said the bank.
Berkshire also calls the Libor scam the largest fraud in history.
It’s not just Bank of America that has been accused of rigging interest rates, other defendants in the suit include JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.
So what can the average person do? How do we fight back against such seemingly limitless arrogance? The answer is deceptively simple. Empower and recognize whistleblowers, America’s unsung heroes. Folks like our clients who worked inside Bank of America and who were brave enough to stand up and say, “Enough!”
Wall Street may try to muzzle whistleblowers but they are truly the new American heroes. Under the federal False Claims Act and the FIRREA statute (Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act), whistleblowers can also be paid for stepping forward. Three individuals in last year’s Bank of America case are set to receive roughly $50 million apiece for their work and information. Last year the federal government paid out $435 million in whistleblower award money.
We are humbled and honored to represent whistleblowers in several, billion dollar cases. Obviously, not every case is that large but if the defendant is Bank of America, HSBC, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase or Ocwen, the recoveries can be that high.
Have information about fraud at Bank of America or any other bank? Give us a call. All inquiries are kept in strict confidence and protected by the attorney – client privilege. We help whistleblowers stop fraud and receive the maximum possible awards.
MahanyLaw – America’s Whistleblower Lawyers