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Whistleblower Award Watch '15: Husbands Of Real Housewives Of New Jersey

"I’m trained as an attorney, I’m Sicilian, and I’m from New Jersey."
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Jim Marchese, of the New Jersey Marcheses, is now 2 for 2 on whistleblower awards, an outcome he attributes to his Italian heritage and Garden State residency.

The small mortgage firm Mr. Marchese owns in Shrewsbury, N.J., most recently collected $8.5 million for helping kindle the Justice Department’s record $16.65 billion settlement last summer with Bank of America Corp., which was accused of selling shoddy mortgage investments in the run-up to the financial crisis. Before that, in 2007, Mr. Marchese received $1.6 million after reporting his former employer, a Seattle pharmaceuticals firm now called CTI BioPharma Corp., for allegedly defrauding Medicare. “I’m trained as an attorney, I’m Sicilian, and I’m from New Jersey,” said Mr. Marchese, 45 years old. “If I see you kick a puppy, I’m going to say something. It’s not within me to not say something.”

In related news, if you're looking to put a face to the payout:

Let the above tongue-lashing be a warning to any judges thinking of pulling anything like the last time around:

[In the CTI BioPharma Corp case] Mr. Marchese submitted a claim for 25% of the award, as allowed by law, but prosecutors took the unusual step of asking a judge to deny the payment. In court filings, the Justice Department said he had initiated the scheme while working as a drug rep and then covered up his role. A judge ruled in Mr. Marchese’s favor and awarded him 15% of the settlement, or $1.6 million, though she said he should have brought his concerns to the government more quickly. Mr. Marchese says it took him a few months to act as he pondered the consequences of stepping forward, and points out that his colleagues remained silent. He says a personality dispute led to the Justice Department’s attempt to deny him the reward money.

Whistleblower Jim Marchese Scores Millions in Payout—Again [WSJ]


UBS Whistleblower's $104 Million Award Poses Interesting Conundrum For Would-Be Snitches

Remember Bradley Birkenfeld? He's the guy who single-handedly made the U.S. government’s case against UBS and forced the Swiss bank to hand over the names of thousands of tax cheats, which resulted in the US scoring $780 million from UBS and may have inspired some 33,000 Americans to "voluntarily disclose offshore accounts to the IRS, generating more than $5 billion." And yet, despite his assistance, Birkenfeld wasn't immediately thanked for a job well done. Instead, he was sentenced to forty months in prison (fair-ish, considering he showed a few clients how to avoid paying taxes himself) and told to piss off by the Internal Revenue Service, from whom he sought an award, because he was "not forthcoming about his own role in the scheme," even as a Justice Department attorney admitted that "...without Mr. Birkenfeld walking into the door of the Department of Justice in the summer of 2007, I doubt as of today that this massive fraud would have been discovered by the US government" (or as his lawyer put it, "They didn't know how to spell UBS until he showed up. He didn't just give them a piece of the puzzle. He gave them the entire puzzle"). Now, after doing 32 months at Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution, getting let out early on account of "good-time credit," and living in a halfway house in New Hampshire, Birkenfeld has finally been thrown a bone. Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS AG banker who told the Internal Revenue Service how the bank helped thousands of Americans evade taxes, secured an IRS award of $104 million, an amount his lawyers said may be the largest ever for a U.S. whistle-blower. Birkenfeld told authorities how UBS bankers came to the U.S. to woo rich Americans, managed $20 billion of their assets, and helped them cheat the IRS. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2008, a year after reporting the bank’s conduct to the Justice Department, U.S. Senate, IRS and Securities and Exchange Commission. He was released from prison Aug. 1...Birkenfeld, 47, worked at Zurich-based UBS, the largest Swiss bank, for five years. He sought a reward from the IRS of as much as 30 percent of any taxes the agency recovered as a result of his whistle-blowing activities. Clearly this whole thing should stir up a few questions inside you all, chief among them: how much money would it take to get you to befriend or get yourself employed with some rogue people so you can blow the whistle on them? Would you do any time for it? If so, how much? And are we talking Club Fed or a place where your roommate spoons you every night? UBS Whistle-Blower Secures $104 Million Award From IRS [Bloomberg]

Whistleblowing Bank Of America Quite A Bit More Lucrative Than Working For Bank Of America

Just something to keep in mind. A former Countrywide Financial Corp. manager whose fraud suit contributed to the mortgage industry’s $25 billion settlement with federal and state regulators received about $14.5 million for his efforts, his lawyers said. Kyle Lagow, an appraisal manager for Countrywide from 2004 to 2008, claimed that Countrywide inflated the value of homes to support bigger loans, according to a statement today from Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman. Charlotte, North Carolina- based Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008 to save it from collapse as defaults on home loans soared. Lagow’s information helped prompt a $1 billion settlement of Federal Housing Administration claims announced by Bank of America in February, according to the law firm. The sum was included in the nationwide settlement reached that month. [Bloomberg]

SEC Taking Its Sweet Time Awarding Whistleblowers

No word if it's a problem with the Commission's PayPal account or not.