American Savings settles whistle-blower suit
The settlement came eight months after the bank reached an undisclosed settlement on a related suit
American Savings Bank, which last year called allegations of fraud cover-ups "outrageous" and untrue, settled a whistle-blower lawsuit yesterday with its former security director for an undisclosed amount.
The settlement came eight months after the bank reached an undisclosed settlement on a suit by 91-year-old Ada Lim, who had more than $900,000 embezzled by a former bank employee in 2004 and 2005.
Bert Corneil, the bank's former security director, had filed a suit on Aug. 2 that alleged the bank repeatedly tried to coerce him to recharacterize reported fraud losses -- involving Lim and others -- as "potential losses" to keep the bank's total losses down.
Corneil, a former Honolulu police officer, alleged in his suit that the bank started harassing him and stripped him of his authority because he was reporting fraudulent losses to state and federal authorities. Lim had filed her separate suit on the same day.
American Savings said in a statement yesterday that it could not comment on the specifics of yesterday's settlement.
"We believe that this resolution of the matter is in the best interests of American Savings Bank," the statement said. "We are pleased to put this matter behind us and continue our efforts to best serve our customers and communities."
John Perkin, attorney for Corneil, said his "lips are sealed" regarding the settlement.
As to the bank's statement, Corneil said, "They paid for the privilege, but that's pure speculation on my part."
In the Lim settlement, which was announced in September, American Savings spokesman Craig Togami said the bank had resolved that case "fairly and amicably" and that both parties were "completely satisfied with the settlement."
The two settlements follow statements made last August by American Savings Chief Executive Constance Lau in which she denied the allegations. At the time, she said in a written statement that "this bank did not in any way, shape or form cover up anything."