Won Whistleblower Reward for Client in Ground-Breaking Mortgage Fraud Case
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represented Robert Harris, a former assistant vice president in JPMorgan’s Chase Prime division.
Mr. Harris accused the bank of failing to assist borrowers seeking Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) assistance and knowingly submitting false claims for government insurance based on wrongful foreclosures. He was fired after he complained internally, and Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represented Mr. Harris in a False Claims Act complaint.
It was not immediately apparent that it was a False Claims case, and KKC pioneered a theory of liability to apply qui tam law to this case.
The United States government and several state governments reached a settlement agreement to resolve these lawsuits, and Mr. Harris was awarded $1.2 million under the False Claims Act for his contributions that resulted in this settlement.
The False Claims Act is 31 USC § 3729-3733. The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow persons and entities with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the United States government. In qui tam actions, the government has the right to intervene and join the action. If the government declines, the private plaintiff may proceed on his or her own.
Violators of the False Claims Act are liable for three times the dollar amount that the government is defrauded and civil penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 for each false claim. A qui tam plaintiff can receive between 15 and 30 percent of the total recovery from the defendant, whether through a favorable judgment or settlement. To be eligible to recover money under the Act, you must file a qui tam lawsuit. Merely informing the government about the violation is not enough. You only receive an award if, and after, the government recovers money from the defendant as a result of your suit.
If you have knowledge of Mortgage or Banking Fraud and would like to know how Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto can help you with your case, please contact us by completing our Consultation Request Form.
For more information, see our resource page on the False Claims Act or visit the Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto Blog.