The US Justice Department and the New York attorney general have filed
separate securities lawsuits seeking more than $2 billion from Bank of
New York Mellon Corp. The complaints accuse the BNY Mellon of overcharging
clients billions of dollars with currency trades and defrauding them for
over 10 years.
Federal and state officials didn’t arrive at these findings without help. According to The Wall Street Journal, Grant Wilson, who sold and bought currencies for clients at the bank’s Pittsburgh trading desk, was the secret whistleblower that spent two years handing over documents and information to the government to help build the case against BNY Mellon.
As a matter of fact, other state attorneys general, including those in Florida and Virginia, have also files their securities complaints against the financial firm based on the information that he provided. The lawsuits accuse the bank of overcharging major clients through unfavorable currency-exchange rates. These were clients that had given the bank “standing instruction” to trade on their behalf. The plaintiffs say that there are even internal communications and emails between BNY Mellon executives that endorse this alleged currency transaction practice, show preference toward certain client, and express concern that providing greater transparency would lower profit margins.
Qui Tam/Whistleblower Lawsuits
As a whistleblower, Wilson is entitled to a percentage of whatever the Justice Department and the state attorneys general recover. Also known as Qui Tam cases, a whistleblower lawsuit is brought by an individual that exposes fraudulent activity.
Now, under The Dodd-Frank Reform Act, a whistleblower that comes forward with “original information” resulting in a successful enforcement action or an administrative one that leads to a more than $1 million monetary sanction may end up receiving 10-30% of the total sanctions collected. The amount the whistleblower receives will depend on the kind of help he/she gave and how much of an impact this made on the case. The information provided by the whistleblower must either have resulted in a new probe or examination or, if there was already a investigation going on, then the information provided by the whistleblower must be what only he/she could have provided and played a key role obtaining a successful action.
Filing a whistleblower claim can be a daunting process, and you want to make sure that you are represented by attorneys that can protect your rights and help you obtain the maximum allowed under Dodd-Frank.
Secret Informant Surfaces in BNY Currency Probe, The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2011
BNY Mellon sued over currency rates, BNY Mellon, October 5, 2011
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection
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Our Qui Tam lawyers at the Gilbert Law Group represent clients with whistleblower securities cases. We also represent clients with claims in the areas of government contract fraud, military contracts, healthcare fraud, and other areas.