Countrywide whistleblower kept lawsuit secret from family for three years before receiving $14.5 million settlement

by Eric Pearson

A Texas man who was forced to keep a whistleblower lawsuit he filed against Countrywide Financial secret from his family for three years has received a $14.5 million settlement from the case. The payment was part of a $1 billion settlement reached by the federal government with Bank of America, the current owner of Countrywide.

Kyle Lagow was hired by a division of Countrywide in 2004 to train housing appraisers across several states. After several years with the company, Lagow said that he became worried about the company’s lending practices. In his lawsuit, he alleged that executives in the division encouraged appraisers to inflate home values to ensure that loans were approved.

Lagow warned executives with Countrywide about these problems, but he was told that an internal investigation found that there were no problems that needed to be addressed. After contacting a law firm about his situation, Lagow filed a qui tam lawsuit against Countrywide in 2009 under the federal government’s False Claims Act, which entitles whistleblowers to a portion of any settlement reached with the government.

Because whistleblower claims under the False Claims Act are filed under seal, Lagow was not allowed to discuss his lawsuit against Countrywide with anyone, including his wife and family. After being fired by Countrywide, Lagow says that he had trouble finding work for several years. During this period he was also diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer.

After the federal government reached its settlement with Bank of America in February 2012, Lagow was awarded a payment of $14.5 million, 19% of the $75 million that the government determined was a result of his whistleblower suit. This payment was one of the largest recent awards in a qui tam settlement involving the finance industry.

The law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson represents clients in qui tam lawsuits and other areas of litigation. If you believe that you may have a qui tam case, contact our attorneys for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by completing our free online case evaluation form.