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A federal agency ruled Wednesday in favor of the top-level executive who revealed the corrupt lending practices done at Countrywide Financial Corp was improperly fired for spearheading internal investigations that “found widespread and pervasive wire, mail and bank fraud” at the lender.
Bank of America Corp, which acquired Countrywide, was ordered by the Labor Department to pay roughly around $930,000 to the former executive and to reinstate her.
Eileen Foster, who was then a vice president at Countrywide, and later on at Bank of America after it bought Countrywide in 2008, said that top-level executives at Countrywide concealed fraudulent practices within the company. She said that whistleblowers who attempted to report alleged forged documents, faked data and many other dubious activities inside the largest mortgage lender in America were fired.
The mortgage fraud investigation unit at Countrywide during the time of the merger was ran by Foster. In a couple of interviews with iWatch News, Foster revealed that the management of Countrywide protected those sales staffers who inflated the incomes on loan applications of borrowers and falsified documents in order to push through a massive volume of high-risk mortgages.
She said, “The organization built its business to take advantage of the fraud. It benefitted from the fraud. And it protected the fraud.”
When Foster was asked Wednesday about the decision of the labor agency, she said, “I don’t want to comment at this time, considering that I may be returning to Bank of America as an employee.”
For Bank of America’s part, it said that it plans to file an appeal.
Shirley Norton, the spokeswoman of the bank, said, “This is an old matter dating from 2008. We are disappointed with the ruling and plan to exercise our option to challenge the order.”