FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 31, 2022
UPDATE in Citibank Whistleblower Case:
Motion Seeks Reward for Whistleblower’s Role in $400M Penalty
Third-Party Risk Management VP Reported Citibank Misconduct to DOJ and OCC
More Than a Year Before Record Fine, but Denied Whistleblower Reward
NEW YORK, NY (January 31, 2022) – A Citibank employee who blew the whistle on the company’s misconduct, contributing to a $400 million penalty, filed a motion today seeking a whistleblower reward. The motion asks the Court to order the U.S. Department of Justice to award the whistleblower an appropriate share of the penalty.
The motion comes after a lawsuit filed under the federal False Claims Act — unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in October 2021 — revealed that Citibank’s regulatory and internal controls were grossly deficient on an enterprise level and that Citi concealed its deficiencies from regulators. However, the Department of Justice has failed to reward the whistleblower, whose information contributed to exposing Citibank’s coverup. The motion seeks to rectify this. The False Claims Act requires that whistleblowers in successful cases, including when the Government seeks an alternate remedy, receive a reward consisting of between 25 and 30 percent of the Government’s recovery.
Citibank must comply with Consent Orders issued by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). In or about 2018, Tamika Miller, a current Citibank VP, witnessed, firsthand, the alteration of audit reports designed to give the reader the impression that Citibank was in compliance with regulatory rules and the federal agencies’ prior Consent Orders. She blew the whistle to the OCC, Department of Justice, and other agencies. In November 2019, Ms. Miller, who along with others oversaw risk and control of external Third-Party Suppliers to the Bank’s Credit Card Division, sued Citibank, on behalf of the Government, seeking to expose and remediate the fraud, as well as recover fines and penalties owed to the Government.
“We hope that the DOJ and government regulators, who have already held Citibank accountable, will now reward Ms. Miller for risking her career to disclose the Bank’s misconduct,” said Robert J. Valli, Jr., an attorney representing Ms. Miller. “Without whistleblowers like Ms. Miller, regulators will be uninformed and will be unlikely to uncover the depth of wrongdoing committed by banks and other financial institutions.”
“This lawsuit was initiated following our client’s disclosures to Citibank and federal oversight agencies concerning the fraud she witnessed. The law requires that whistleblowers receive an award even when the Government chooses an administrative or other approach to address the wrongdoing,” said Richard Condit, an attorney representing Ms. Miller.
Ms. Miller is represented by Sara Wyn Kane and Robert J. Valli, Jr. of Valli Kane & Vagnini LLP and Richard Condit, Cleveland Lawrence III and Ezra Bronstein of Mehri & Skalet PLLC.