#2. You'll Never Work Again
I'm still unemployed now, five years later. I was even barred from receiving unemployment in Texas. I lost my house, my apartment -- right now I live off my dad's Social Security and VA disability. No place in the world is going to hire someone who got her former boss sued by the government and has cost them billions and climbing. That's right up there with "steals lunches from the employee fridge" on the list of deadly office sins. And even if they were willing to hire me, I'm continually testifying in front of that alphabet soup of agencies and attorneys general I mentioned earlier.
The Washington Post / Getty Images
Testifying is apparently so stressful that JP Morgan's CEO needs $20 million a year to cope with it.
"Sorry, I may have to miss work half the month, and I can't really tell you why right now" doesn't make a great impression on prospective employers: Their natural first assumptions are "spy" or "serious opium addict." In the space of a few years, I went from living in the nicest part of San Antonio and working as an executive with a good salary to living with my dad on food stamps. All because I told the truth and refused to commit hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud in one day. Whistleblowing means being "forever unemployable," while the people you blew the whistle on get promotions and massive bonuses. Google my name, and you're immediately aware of my legal history. Even the absolute laziest background check is going to find that out. Pretty much the best I can hope for is that Google will ask them if they meant "Del Monte" and maybe I'll be mistaken for a fruit cup magnate.
It ... hasn't happened yet.
#1. The Legal Battles Will Take Decades
I was the first person I know of to file as a whistleblower under the SEC's new Whistleblower Program under Dodd-Frank. So if the government ever does the right thing and prosecutes these people, I'll get 10 to 30 percent of the SEC fines. That sounds awesome, but we've been at this for five years now, and my lawyer says we have a minimum of five to seven years longer just testifying and subpoenaing between AG actions and upcoming class actions. A child was born at the start of this case, and it will live long enough to grow ungrateful and angsty before we ever see a dollar.
"The court will now adjourn until we can think up a new reason to adjourn."
My story isn't necessarily common. Sometimes it works out: The best possible outcome for someone like me is that of Bradley Birkenfeld. He blew the whistle on a massive income tax scam in 2005 and finally received his award in 2012. That was three years after his bank paid their fine. On the plus side, he made $104 million for his trouble. On the downside, it took seven years, and he spent two and half of those in prison for it. Rarely is "go directly to jail" the best case scenario.
The funniest thing is that I never went in search of an attorney to sue Chase, or anyone else. After it all went down, I would have moved on and started working at another bank, doing what I do best: not committing a quarter of a billion dollars' worth of fraud every day. They left me no choice but to file suit by taking pretty much everything else away. You don't think of banks and other corporations as being susceptible to petty human motivations like revenge.
But that's only because you don't know them well enough.
Linda has a GoFundMe page where you can donate to help her keep blowing the heck out of that whistle. Robert Evans runs Cracked's personal experience team and if you'd like to tell him a story send an email here.
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