There is no category of businessperson I admire more than the whistleblower. Without them, our country would be even more corrupted by the acts of large corporations and our citizens would be the victims of that corruption. So it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to post the following story, published in DSNews.
Edward O’Donnell, a former executive with Countrywide Financial Corp., will be getting $57 million for the key role he played in the government recovering more than $15 billion against Bank of America.
O’Donnell filed two whistle-blower lawsuits under the False Claims Act: the first having to do with Countrywide’s sale of faulty mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through a program known as the High Speed Swim Lane (HSSL, or “Hustle”) (see this report from Bloomberg News). That suit, filed in 2012, resulted in the government negotiating a settlement with Bank of America, which bought Countrywide, for $1.27 billion.
The second suit O’Donnell filed against Countrywide resulted in a record $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America with the government in August 2014.
Bank of America bought Countrywide for $4 billion in 2008. It probably doesn’t look like such a good investment anymore.