“Countrywide Whistle-Blower to Receive More Than $57 Million”

Take this rah-rah piece of news from the New York Times in conjunction with the sad story of Tatiana Cheeks − who sued New York City for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution and was awarded by a Bronx jury $2 million, which was just taken away by an appellate court panel:

And you do remember what Countrywide did to earn the contempt and opprobrium, um, countrywide, right?

A former Countrywide Financial executive who became a whistle-blower is collecting more than $57 million for helping federal prosecutors force Bank of America to pay a record $16.65 billion penalty in connection with its role in churning out shoddy mortgage and related securities before the financial crisis.

Edward O’Donnell reached an agreement last week with the government that enables him to collect part of the settlement that Bank of America agreed to pay in August in a deal with federal prosecutors and a number of state attorneys general, according to a court filing. The payment to Mr. O’Donnell arises from a federal civil lawsuit he filed under the False Claims Act earlier this year and which Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for Manhattan, joined and used as the basis for pressing Bank of America to reach a deal.

“In my opinion, Edward O’Donnell is the person most responsible for bolstering the bank settlements and holding Wall Street accountable,” said David G. Wasinger, the lawyer for Mr. O’Donnell, who worked at Countrywide from 2003 to 2009.

Ms. Cheeks did not have $25 to give Methodist Hospital’s clinic when she went there with her infant child whom she was breast-feeding, but who was not getting enough nourishment. Methodist Hospital turned Ms. Cheeks away because she did not have $25, and her infant did not yet have a Medicaid card, so Ms. Cheeks was not able to get the advice she needed to help her baby and the baby died. And then Ms. Cheeks was arrested − ignorantly and wrongfully − for starving her infant to death.

Congratulations, Mr. O’Donnell, for that heap of money you’re about to get. According to your own lawyer you deserve it. As he will, according to his tacit self-praise, deserve, I’d guess, one-third of that $57 million.


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