Man Who Blew the Whistle on Big Bank's Practices Is Now About to Lose His Home to that Same Bank

In 2006, Robert Kraus was a controller at the Wachovia investment bank, earning good money and benefits. But he began to see practices that he believed to be illegal – ranging from fraud related to real estate loans to inadequate internal controls and accounting rules.


He went to the federal government as a whistleblower, hoping to bring an end to these practices. Yet in the process of doing so, the bank – today owned by Wells Fargo, which bought it in 2008 – fired him.

Kraus is now on the verge of losing his home. “It's impossible to support my family,” said Kraus in an interview with the Charlotte Observer. “I'm unable to find work in my field.” Court documents show that Robert and his wife are falling behind on payments for the $515,000 mortgage on their home in North Carolina. The bank that holds the mortgage is Wells Fargo, the very same bank he is in the process of helping sue.

“The reason I can't pay my mortgage is because I did my job,” he reflected. “I'm losing my house to the same bank.”

It's a sad commentary on the risks of being a truth teller.

“When a would-be whistleblower calls me, I tell them check your bank account, check your mortgage, check your marriage, check your religion, because all of these will be put under a tremendous strain,” explained University of Maryland professor and whistleblower expert Fred Alford. “You’re not just going to blow the whistle and go find another job. It’s going to become your life.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close