The Merrill Lynch case raised Keith Schooley to the seven most influential whistleblowers

Author: Goran Lefkov

The case of the US investment bank Merrill Lynch in the 1990s brought new winds to the money industry. One of the 5 largest investment banks in the United States, Merrill Lynch, falsified documents for its managers and several other corrupt practices that go against the code of ethics that the bank itself had adopted. Thus, the bank entered into corruption scandals, which cost investors a lot of money. All this was reported by the broker there, Keith Schooley.

From the first day he entered the company, those things started to bother him. He constantly consulted his wife, Donna, but she convinced him not to take any risky steps, fearing for the future of their family. However, Schooley couldn’t stand it and wrote his book “Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal” in utmost secrecy. The subtitle of the book is “My War Against Wall Street’s Giant”. The book was published in 2002 and can be purchased in libraries across the United States. It can also be purchased online.

He had been employed in the Merrill Lynch Oklahoma office since 1992.

After going public with the affairs, Merrill Lynch took Schooley to arbitration, which later turned out to be a mistake in his case and he lost the case. His lawyer, Stephen Jones, would write:

“Keith Schooley is both a friend and a client. For a time, as he states in this book, I served as his attorney advising him in connection with his conflict with Merrill Lynch. Ultimately, for the reasons Keith had stated, I could no longer represent him because I was not comfortable in the arbitration environment where his case would be tried. I believed then and now, that in a trial by jury, Keith would win.

It was a surprise to me, as I suspect it will be to many people, to know that conflicts with your brokerage house should be resolved in court, not arbitration. I have often stated that the best argument for the jury system in this country is the alternative, and the alternatives are usually a trial before judge or trial before arbitrators.”

The mistake they made by choosing arbitration instead of a regular court turned the whole case in Merrill Lynch’s favour. But that’s why Keith Schooley has written the book that has won over readers and that public battle, even though the institutions didn’t value his real heroic work.

He lives in Ohio today and continues to be publicly present in cases where there is abuse of the kind he pointed out at Merrill Lynch.