For the millions of Americans who have entrusted their life savings to the mutual fund industry, Peter Scannell is the hero you may not have heard of.
He was the Putnam Investments employee in Boston who first blew the whistle on the industry market-timing scandal a few years ago. His action exposed, and helped end, a practice that was costing investors hundreds of millions of dollars.
For this, his own career in the finance industry was destroyed -- and he didn't get a dime. Scannell may have his last chance of changing that next week, when his lawyer will go before the appellate court in Massachusetts to press his claim for millions of dollars in reward money under the state's whistle-blower law.
This follows rebuffs from both the Massachusetts former attorney general, Tom Reilly, and a lower court."We're going to ask the appellate court to overturn the lower court's decision," says Scannell's attorney, Robert Autieri. "Statistically, not a lot of cases are overturned. We're realistic, but hopeful." Scannell should get his money. His treatment has been a disgrace, both to the law and to the mutual fund industry. To recap: Scannell worked for Putnam Investments in a call center near Boston from 2000 to 2003. There he discovered that company employees, and some privileged clients in a local union, were being allowed to make short-term trades in mutual funds at the expense of long-term investors.