When Kyle Lagow became aware that his employer, Countrywide Financial, was involved in mortgage fraud, he knew he had a moral obligation to stop it. Kyle‘s job with Countrywide was to hire and train appraisers in multiple locations across the country who would provide appraisals of homes to lenders considering a mortgage loan. When executives at Countrywide Financial began to encourage appraisers to inflate home values to ensure loan approval, Kyle Lagow was determined to put an end to the fraudulent practice. After numerous attempts to work with corporate executives at Countrywide failed, Lagow blew the whistle and filed a False Claims suit against the company.
Whistleblowers are Required to File False Claims or Qui tam Lawsuits under Seal
The False Claims Act was instituted in the 1800’s to encourage people to report illegal, dishonest, or immoral actions of a company that defrauded the government. Qui tam cases under the False Claims Act leading to financial recovery and settlements pay the whistleblower 15-25% of the settlement for their cooperation and information. The False Claims Act mandates that the suit must be filed under seal pending the investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The whistleblower cannot discuss the case with anyone during this time, not even close family members.
It has been reported that during the three year lawsuit, Lagow lost his job, couldn’t find work to support his family, had his water, electric, and gas turned off, his car was repossessed, and the family home was almost lost. Though his five college aged and older children and wife were supportive, Kyle was under court order to remain silent. His intentions to put a stop to Countrywide’s fraudulent behavior were clear since he was never sure that the Department of Justice investigation would result in a settlement. His steadfast determination and pursuit of justice finally paid off with Countrywide Financial settling for one billion dollars.
The Bank of America bought Countrywide Financial in 2008 to save it from bankruptcy, but was not involved in the mortgage fraud. Unfortunately for the Bank of America, they became responsible for paying the award because they now owned the company. The amount of $500 million was paid to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) since they provided loans to low income customers. Kyle Lagow was awarded $75 million for his share, and after legal fees and taxes, he received $14.5 million. The remainder of the settlement was designated to loan modification programs to help the customers who had been victimized by Countrywide’s fraudulent actions. Any money that remained after the loan modifications would be paid to the government.
Sidney L. Gold & Associates Provide Whistleblowers with Experienced Representation in False Claims or Qui tam Lawsuits
While the Philadelphia Qui tam attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates did not represent Kyle Lagow in the monumental False Claims suit, our attorneys are experienced in representing clients who “blow the whistle” on illegal, immoral, or dishonest corporate practices. The success of any False Claims suit begins with the first step of filing the claim under seal. Without the support of the U.S. Department of Justice, whistleblowers will have great difficulty standing up to the legal teams that corporations employ to fight such accusations. Our experienced Philadelphia Qui tam attorneys know the laws involved in False Claims lawsuits, and will represent you throughout all proceedings to ensure that justice is served.
If you are considering filing a whistleblower or Qui tam lawsuit, contact our lawyers immediately. The process is often overwhelming because of the strict procedural stipulations, but our experienced legal team will review your case, advise you of the best course of action, and provide expert representation in all proceedings. You can be assured that your confidential information and legal rights are protected throughout the process.
The law firm of Sidney L. Gold & Associates is conveniently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and serves clients throughout the tri-state areas of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online.