A 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' star blew the whistle that led to Bank of America's $16.65 billion settlement

Jim MarcheseBrad Barket/GettyJim and Amber Marchese

You may recognise the serial whistleblower who helped the Justice Department get its $US16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America last year from The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Jim Marchese and his wife, Amber, are cast members on the reality TV show — but in his downtime, Marchese, who owns a local New Jersey mortgage firm, likes to take fraudsters to court, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Rexrode.

It’s not a bad side gig: in his lawsuit against Bank of America, in which the bank was accused of making bad mortgage investments leading up to the financial crisis, Marchese received $US8.5 million for tipping the government off.

Back in 2007, when he blew the whistle on his own company, a pharmaceutical firm that allegedly defrauded Medicare, Marchese scored $US1.6 million for his efforts.

Of course, the money is not why Marchese says he does it.

“I’m trained as an attorney, I’m Sicilian, and I’m from New Jersey,” Marchese told the Journal. “If I see you kick a puppy, I’m going to say something. It’s not within me to not say something.”

Pretty altruistic for a guy known for regularly blowing up in his friends’ faces on live television.

Here’s a NSFW example of that:

Read the full story in the Journal ยป

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