Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Money Laundering, Wells Fargo, Muni-bonds

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

03/11/2019

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Money to Launder? Here's How (Hint: Find a Bank)

You’re a Russian criminal with millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains but one big problem: Transferring slugs of money or carrying suitcases of cash will raise eyebrows. You need to “launder” the dough — make the dirty money appear to be the proceeds of legitimate enterprise. Then it can be spent anywhere in the world — say, on real estate or luxury yachts — no questions asked. Most countries and all the world’s major banks have controls in place to flag suspicious funds coming into the financial system. But as shown by the so-called Troika Laundromat scandal and the probes roiling European banks, bad actors come up with innovative ways to skirt the rules. read more »

Wells Fargo Says Its Culture Has Changed. Some Employees Disagree.

Wells Fargo has spent years publicly apologizing for deceiving customers with fake bank accounts, unwarranted fees and unwanted products. Its top executives say that because they have eliminated the aggressive sales targets that spurred bad behavior, the bank’s culture has changed.

Many employees say that is news to them.

There is no evidence that employees are secretly opening accounts in customers’ names or tricking them into buying unnecessary auto insurance, as some did in the past. The bank has altered how it pays workers and added safeguards to catch bad behavior.

But Wells Fargo workers say they remain under heavy pressure to squeeze extra money out of customers. Some have witnessed colleagues bending or breaking internal rules to meet ambitious performance goals, according to interviews with 17 current and former employees and internal documents reviewed by The New York Times. read more »

How Philadelphia Says It Got Ripped Off by Bank Bond ‘Robots’

When numbers are big, little things can add up. That’s why Philadelphia says that price-fixing by seven Wall Street banks has cost states and municipalities billions of dollars -- and why the city says it was unaware of the scam until whistle-blower Johan Rosenberg came forward. Philadelphia’s charges are echoed in suits filed by the whistle-blower on behalf of California, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York. The banks are contesting the whistle-blower’s charges. The suits, over what are known as variable-rate demand obligations, or VRDOs, represent the biggest legal challenge to the generally staid municipal bond market in over a decade. read more »

Mystery Man Behind $3.6 Billion in Muni Lawsuits Steps Forward

Whistle-blower is Minnesota bond adviser with checkered past.

Johan Rosenberg was involved but never charged in past cases.

In 2015, Johan Rosenberg was granted U.S. Patent No. 8,935,181 on an unusual invention: software that he claimed could ferret out Wall Street chicanery.

With the help of MuniPriceTracker, Rosenberg combed through thousands of deals in the vast U.S. municipal-bond market.

In 2015, Johan Rosenberg was granted U.S. Patent No. 8,935,181 on an unusual invention: software that he claimed could ferret out Wall Street chicanery.

With the help of MuniPriceTracker, Rosenberg combed through thousands of deals in the vast U.S. municipal-bond market. read more »