A former JP Morgan Chase employee, Linda Almonte, has filed an SEC whistleblower case against the bank, making some very serious claims against Chase with regard to its debt collection practices. Almonte was in the bank’s credit services division, and was in charge of auditing accounts to be sold to potential debt buyers. She became concerned when she found she was unable to verify a large number of judgments and balances.
Almonte’s whistleblower letter, sent to the SEC by her law firm Kyros & Pressly on November 30, 2010, includes allegations that:
1. The bank’s series of mergers and acquisitions caused problems with the integration of customer files and receipts, and resulted in conflicting sets of transaction data.
2. A specific individual shredded key information, such as bankruptcy notices, settlement communications, cancelation of auto pay arrangements, and proofs of payments, rather than entering the information into Chase’s database, rendering account information inaccurate.
3. Chase sold thousands of accounts to third party debt buyers, knowing that account balances were likely incorrect. This is of concern because debt buyers often pursue alleged debtors without verifying the underlying debt.
4. Chase executives executed affidavits in support of Chase’s collection efforts on a mass scale, alleging personal knowledge when they in fact had none.
Purportedly, the whistleblower has plenty of documentation and her own personal observations to back up her allegations. It will be interesting to see what comes of her claims. Altamonte, who raised concerns about these issues with her supervisors, was terminated without notice and escorted from the building by security. She is also suing the bank for wrongful termination in a separate proceeding.