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White Collar + Fraud + Investigations + Compliance

US Department of Labor orders Wells Fargo to pay more than $22M for retaliating against executive that alleged financial misconduct

Musings of former DOJ trial attorney: Let's talk about whistleblower programs. Does your company have a robust complaint and whistleblower program? If you have a client-facing escalated complaints department, are your complaints imaged and searchable? Is there a way to aggregate your company's or bank's complaints so you can determine if there is a larger issue afoot? Are your risk groups mining complaint and whistleblower information to determine if there is heightened exposure in certain areas?

What is the process for following up on internal whistleblower complaints and client-facing escalated complaints? Does it actually work? (And, how do you know?)

Whistleblowers are a key source for most government investigations, specifically FIRREA and FCA investigations.  Oftentimes, when weighing the credibility of allegations against a company, I would begin my investigations by reviewing at least a subset of the complaints (internal or customer) and reviews/investigations. Now, as a member of the defense bar, I would suggest that this is a great place to mount a good offense.

It looks like Wells Fargo had some exposure about how it treated this whistleblower based on the settlement referenced in the below link. What does your company's whistleblower and complaint process look like?

US Department of Labor orders Wells Fargo to pay more than $22M for retaliating against executive that alleged financial misconduct

  • Denise M. Barnes
    Partner

    Denise Barnes is a former U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Trial Attorney who focuses her practice on compliance, white collar and regulatory investigations, and complex commercial litigation.  She represents clients in ...

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