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Whistleblower awarded $370K from Chase over firing

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A local former Chase bank manager has been awarded more than $370,000 by an arbitrator in a wrongful-termination complaint lawsuit court filed against the bank.

A former Metro Detroit bank branch manager for JP Morgan Chase was awarded more than $370,000 by an arbitrator over his termination.

Omar Jasim, a 36-year-old former bank branch manager for JP Morgan Chase locations in Southfield and Warren, alleged he was fired in July 2017 for cooperating with federal investigators into suspicious cash transfers from the bank branch to overseas accounts, specifically in Yemen.

Jasim's attorney, Daniel J. McCarthy said his client had "clearly" been unfairly targeted by Chase.

"Jasim's career in banking was ruined simply because he 'did the right thing' in reporting a suspicious person who used Chase to facilitate the transfer of large sums of case overseas," McCarthy said in a release Friday.

Efforts to reach attorneys for Chase were unsuccessful.

Jasim, a Dearborn resident, was terminated from Chase in July 2017 after cooperating with FBI and IRS investigators probing the suspicious bank transfers. Jasim's lawyers said their client repeatedly reported the suspicious transfers of large sums of money from the bank to the Middle East beginning in 2014.

Federal law requires bank and financial institutions to report large financial transactions by submitting a Suspicious Activity Report. 

Jasim had worked for Chase since October 2011, according to his attorney.

According to an arbitrator's ruling, Jasim was approached by the FBI and IRS in January 2017 and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.

Jasim, who is Arab-American and Muslim, also charged the bank with wrongful termination as well as racial and religious discrimination as a Muslim Arab-American under Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The arbitrator, former Oakland County district judge Bryan Levy, ruled that Jasim was terminated illegally because Chase was concerned about his cooperation with government investigators.

The arbitrator also found that Chase's termination was based on the former banker's "status as an Arab-American and/or Muslim."

In legal briefs, Jasim denied that his firing had anything to do with conducting bank transactions on his personal account but rather was in retaliation for reporting the money transfers to accounts to the Middle East by a bank customer to federal investigators.

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