Portland-Area Man Wins Reported Seven-Figure Whistleblower Settlement from Wells Fargo

Formerly enslaved by the Khmer Rouge, Duke Tran lived the American dream until a big bank fired him.

Duke Tran, a Damascus resident with an extraordinary past, was won a reported seven-figure settlement of a federal whistleblower lawsuit he filed against his former employer, Wells Fargo.

"In 2014, according to Mr. Tran, his boss ordered him to lie to customers who were facing foreclosure," the New York Times reports. "When Mr. Tran refused, he said, he was fired. He worried that he wouldn't be able to make his monthly mortgage payments and that he was about to become homeless."

Tran had faced worse plights before. The son of a South Vietnamese Army officer, Tran fled his country in 1975 when the North Vietnamese took over. But in neighboring Cambodia, he told the Times, he was  enslaved by the Khmer Rouge.

"Eight months after he was caught," the Times reports, "Mr. Tran's captors traded him to aid workers who carried humanitarian supplies. He still remembers the items that bought his freedom: a kilo of rice, two boxes of canned tuna, two boxes of sardines in tomato sauce, antibiotics and some other medical supplies."

Tran's lawsuit was widely reported locally when he filed in 2016. Since then, Wells Fargo has been battered by a series of scandals and as trial approached earlier this year, the bank apparently decided that continuing to fight Tran and his Portland attorney, Michael Fuller, made no sense.

"People familiar with the settlement said it included a seven-figure payment to Mr. Tran," the Times reports.