Opinion: Retaliated against for exposing massive fraud

As part of our #GivingTuesday campaign this year, the National Whistleblower Center is highlighting the stories of several whistleblowers who spoke at the 2019 National Whistleblower Day celebration.

Eugene “Gene” Ross is a former Bear Stearns employee who uncovered the Amerindo Investment Advisor fraud in September 2004.

The principals of Amerindo – Alberto Vilar and Gary Tanaka – misappropriated at least $5 million from a client and made false and misleading statements. In November 2008, they were convicted for defrauding investors.

Gene was a witness for the Department of Justice and testified at the trial; an internal memo he wrote documenting the fraud was also used as evidence.

Because Gene blew the whistle, Vilar and Tanaka went to prison. The Amerindo victims got most of their money back. Without him, none of this would have happened.

But his honesty came at a price – Gene was heavily retaliated against by Bear Stearns. He was chastised, fired, and sued. In 2010, he was forced to declare personal bankruptcy.

His experience led him to put forth three topline messages:

  1. Every fraud victim’s best hope is a whistleblower
  2. We need strong whistleblower laws if we want to seriously address securities fraud
  3. Our current regulatory system is flawed

As Gene said in his speech, “keeping our whistleblower laws strong is not just an abstract concern.” These laws have a direct impact on people like him – someone who is still fighting retaliation over 15 years after he discovered fraud.

Stories like Gene’s are why we do what we do. Become part of our community by making a donation to NWC for #GivingTuesday.

Watch the video of his speech here.



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