JLL Hit With Another Lawsuit, This One Alleging Tax And Securities Fraud
A former broker at JLL in Atlanta has filed suit against the real estate services giant, alleging that the company fired her in retaliation for her bringing violations of tax and securities laws to the attention of company executives.
In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois, Lareine Steinfeld alleged that JLL moved broker revenue into "holdback accounts" that in turn were used to reimburse otherwise nondeductible personal expenses, such as paying for a colleague's first-class plane tickets, luxury hotel stays and ski trips.
"This practice resulted in under-reported taxable earnings, overstated business expenses, and dollar-for-dollar tax deductions for members of JLL's brokerage staff," the complaint says.
Steinfeld further alleges that JLL, including members of its legal department, ignored her reports. She also alleges that JLL took action against her in such a way that her job performance suffered, especially her ability to bring in revenue.
"JLL then used Ms. Steinfeld's resulting decline in revenue as a pretext to terminate her employment as a retaliation for reporting concerns," the complaint says.
During her career at JLL, Steinfeld had received various accolades, most recently being tapped as a “Gold Achiever,” an award for top-earning brokers that she won a few months before she was fired.
The suit is being brought against JLL under the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. As a publicly traded company, JLL is subject to the provisions of that law.
Steinfeld's lawsuit is the latest against JLL. In August, a former associate in JLL's New York Capital Markets Group filed suit against the company, alleging she was denied bonuses because she was a woman and had to endure a sexist work culture, and then was fired for complaining about it.
The company told Bisnow by email that it does not comment on pending litigation.