Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims Taxpayers Were Defrauded When Federal Government Bailed Out Houston-Based American International Group in 2008

Last week, a whistleblower lawsuit claiming that taxpayers were defrauded when the federal government bailed out American International Group was unsealed. The complaint accuses the Houston-based AIG and two banks of taking part in speculative and fraudulent transactions that resulted in losses worth billions of dollars. They then allegedly convinced the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to bail them out with two rescue loans for AIG that were used to unwind hundreds of failed loans.

The complaint focuses on the two emergency loans of about $44 billion that AIG received in October 2008 (The remaining $138 that it got in bailout funds are not part of this case). The money went toward settling trades involving complex, mortgage-linked securities. Some of the AIG-guaranteed securities were underwritten by Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. Both financial institutions join AIG as defendants in this case. The two loans were extended to buy the troubled securities and place them in Maiden Lane II and Maiden Lane III, both special-purpose vehicles, until AIG’s crisis subsided.

The plaintiffs, veteran political activists Nancy and Derek Casady, contend that the rescue loans were improper because the government made them without obtaining a pledge of high-quality collateral from AIG. They maintain that the Fed board does not have the authority to “cover losses of those engaged in fraudulent financial transactions.”

Their whistleblower lawsuit was filed under the False Claims Act. This federal law lets private citizens sue on behalf of government agencies if they know of a fraud that occurred. Plaintiffs are able to attempt to recover money for the government and its taxpayers. Plaintiffs usually receive a percentage if their claim succeeds.

According to the New York Times, senior fed officials have admitted to taking unusual actions in 2008 because the global financial system was on the verge of falling apart.

Related Web Resources:
Claiming Fraud in A.I.G. Bailout, Whistle-Blower Lawsuit Names 3 Companies, The New York Times, May 4, 2011
False Claims Act, Cornell University Law School

Related Web Resources:
Texas Commodity Trading Advisor FIN FX LLC Now Subject to NFA Emergency Enforcement Action, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 27, 2011
Texas Securities Fraud: FINRA Suspends Pinnacle Partners Over Failure to Comply with Temporary Cease and Desist Order Involving “Boiler Room” Operation, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 19, 2011
SEC is Finalizing Its Whistleblower Rules, Says Chairman Schapiro, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 28, 2011
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