The Ethics Resource Center published an article by whistleblower advocate Jason Zuckerman titled The Financial Crisis: Whistleblowers Could Have Helped Avert It. Zuckerman states:
During the height of the subprime lending spree, a whistleblower retained me to represent him in a retaliation action stemming from his disclosure at a large subprime originator about a sales manager directing employees to increase the company’s subprime lending by forging federally-mandated subprime disclosure forms that inform borrowers of the disadvantages of subprime loans.
The subprime loans were more lucrative for the lender because they carried higher interest rates and therefore the company strongly encouraged its sales force to originate subprime loans.
When my client opposed this unlawful practice (forging federally-mandated disclosure forms), the sales manager withheld sales leads from my client, whose compensation consisted primarily of sales commissions, and engaged in various acts of retaliation designed to ensure that my client would fail.
I vividly recall that client warning me in 2005 that there was widespread fraud in the mortgage underwriting industry and also recall the company’s reaction to my client’s retaliation claim. They perceived it as an “affront” and kept pointing out that the company was in business to serve the public interest by making housing more affordable to low income workers.
Three years later, that company has suffered more than $1 billion in losses from subprime mortgages, and borrowers who would have fared well with non-subprime loans are unable to make the payments on high-interest subprime loans. As I read the news about an unprecedented credit crisis, mass layoffs, widespread foreclosures, and trillions of dollars of losses in retirement accounts, I wonder if the situation would not be as dire if companies and the government encouraged whistleblowing and took whistleblower disclosures seriously.”
Zuckerman then offers five tips for companies to encourage early disclosures of misconduct and to appropriately respond to employee concerns.
Whistleblower Protection Lawyers
Washington DC whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law represents whistleblowers nationwide under federal whistleblower protection laws, including the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower law, and the False Claims Act and NDAA anti-retaliation provisions.
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Described by the National Law Journal as a “leading whistleblower attorney,” founding Principal Jason Zuckerman has established precedent under a wide range of whistleblower protection laws and obtained substantial compensation for his clients and recoveries for the government in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation cases. Three of the cases he worked on are featured in Tom Mueller’s seminal book about whistleblowing Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud and Dan Maldea’s Corruption in U.S. Higher Education: The Stories of Whistleblowers. The False Claims Act qui tam cases that Zuckerman has worked on in conjunction with other attorneys have resulted in recoveries in excess of $100 million, and he has secured settlements above $1 million in eight SOX whistleblower retaliation matters.
In 2019, the National Law Review awarded Zuckerman its “Go-To Thought Leadership Award” for his analysis of developments in whistleblower law, and Washingtonian magazine has named two of our attorneys to its list of Top Whistleblower Attorneys.whistleblower_lawyers_012017_infographic