January 5, 2011, 9:20pm – Chandler, AZ – http://thoughtforyourpenny.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-night-my-whole-life-changed.html
I sat at my desk, nervously chain-smoking cigarettes. I hadn’t smoked in nearly a year, but tonight may be my last night of freedom. A cascade of windows swallowed my monitor as I scanned my hard drives, cookies, and registry files to see what I have.
Twelve hours earlier, Bank of America’s corporate security called the police and said I made a bomb threat on the building. Now my neighbors are peering curiously toward my house as the police have it surrounded and are yelling for me to come outside.
March 13, 2011, 11:59pm – Chandler, AZ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2O-vRNN-ukw
The Wall Street Journal balked at my story, and I had to contact Anonymous. Fresh off their HB Gary leak and Julian Assange’s cryptic warning of a Bank of America leak, my quest for justice landed me in the center of an international shitstorm I wasn’t even aware of, much less prepared for.
Four months after facing my 30th birthday by jumping out of an airplane, I’m suddenly the Bank of America leaker everyone’s talking about. Bradley Manning is sitting in a prison cell, and Julian Assange is under house arrest in the U.K. Thankfully I had their stories to follow, and an HB Gary Federal Powerpoint presentation outlining Bank of America’s Enterprise Risk Management campaign against Wikileaks.
I’m not going to jail – I already dodged that bullet months ago. I’m an honest American citizen, and, although I may have broken a few laws, I’ve committed no crimes. I just hope I leaked enough to prove the fraud without having to listen to the Anon and leak the reports (and the millions of American’s private banking info) it would take to prove what the media wanted. The regulators and activists and lawyers will get what they need though. They’ll understand…
In one minute, I’m facing the judgment of the entire world. If even a handful understand what I need them to, I’ll have the pieces in place to take the whole board. If they don’t, I fade away into the system, disappear, and die, just like everyone else before me. I crossed a point of no return. This is going on my permanent record in the real life Game of Thrones.
I’m a whistleblower now, and I only need to be an expert in myself.
May 18, 2012, 10:33am – Sierra Vista, AZ – http://thoughtforyourpenny.blogspot.com/2012/05/paraphrasing-bank-of-americas-testimony.html
I’ve been told to keep my head down, and you can’t get much more down than living in your old bedroom of your parents’ house at 31. I’ve waited over a year, and these force-placed insurance hearings are the culmination of everything I’ve done. I may have lost nearly everything and everyone I loved, but I’m not a complete loser. My parents only see their grown son smoking synthetic marijuana and playing on a laptop in a robe, but I’m transcribing an important piece of history.
Ben Lawsky and the New York Department of Financial Services have banking and insurance executives on the hot seat over the practices I spoke to them about. My leak encouraged regulators to look at me, and they listened to what I had to say – beneath all the smoke and mirrors of mortgage-backed securities is simple financial fraud hidden behind escrow accounts and foreclosures.
I already caught a lot of these guys lying on the stands, and I know they know I’m watching. I have the attention of a room full of very powerful people on Wall Street, and I’m high out my mind, and happy as shit. They need to hurry up and come back from lunch. I can’t wait to tear this Bank of America exec a new one…
September 26, 2012, 8:59pm – Clearwater, FL – http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/sound-off/505b78b6fe344425f500004e
Having been through the rounds with regulators, I gave up hope in the American justice system. St. Petersburg College in Florida was the perfect place to hide in plain sight. Miami and Florida are two entirely different places, and the only place that would accept someone as blacklisted as me is Clearwater, the Scientology mecca. I’m easy to find on Google, and my site has Guy Fawkes masks all over it. The Scientologists are the least of my worries for now.
My problem right now is I’m about to be a guest on HuffPost Live – the school library is about to close, and I’m about to be kicked out of here by a school security guard on a live broadcast. He’s already warned me twice, and I have to face the music sooner or later. They’re lucky they at least gave me Aloyna Minkovski as a host. She’s one of the only people who got my story right back then. I’m in good hands. I need to relax and not think about school or work or bills. Tonight, I’m Brian Penny the bank whistleblower.
I have no idea how to be a banking analyst or journalist. I’m no talking head, and why did the producer laugh at me when I asked to be identified as a whistleblower? I bet Aloyna doesn’t get this kind of pushback. The NY DFS may not have thrown everyone in jail like the Harvey Dent I hoped for, but at least Ben Lawsky and Joy Feigenbaum treated me with respect. These public access media monkeys seem to think I’m the joke.
I need to run – the segment’s starting, the security guard is screaming at me, and I’m about to be introduced on camera running across campus to the nearest building I can find where I can sit down and do my first live news broadcast…
April 14, 2014, 1:59pm – Denver, CO
I just walked out of a medicinal and recreational dispensary in American Amsterdam. After a weekend long drive from Arizona to Colorado, I finally felt the feeling of true freedom I’ve been seeking for over three years. I no longer had to talk about my lifelong love of marijuana – instead I can proudly stand on American streets and admit that I enjoy smoking blunts. No longer do I feel like the criminal I’ve felt like since the day Bank of America imprisoned me in my own mind.
When I walked in as a whistleblower, their executives embraced me, taking me behind the scenes and showed me their operations, allowing me to film it on my GoPro and ask any questions I wanted. The stigmas that follow me around in my life don’t matter here – this business has nothing to hide. I can instantly tell they’re honest people who are knowledgeable about their product and care about the surrounding community.
I spoke openly with the workers and found one of the front-end pros came from the banking industry as well. We both smiled as she proudly declared how much more she enjoys her career these days compared to back then. Everyone felt comfortable, natural, and real. This was no manufactured McFriendly environment – these people truly love what they do, and it shows in every facet.
I only drove 800 miles from Phoenix to Denver, but it’s an entire world away…
Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, freelance consultant, and troll. He’s a frequent contributor to The Street, Huffington Post, Cannabis Now, and Fast Company.