Mama always said that nobody likes a tattletale. Never have and never will. After all, there’s even a rather gory old nursery rhyme detailing what happens to blabbermouths: “tell tale tit / your tongue shall be slit / and all the dogs in town shall have a little bit…” Oh my!
But in select situations — under certain professional circumstances — being a tattletale can actually prove quite profitable. For a perfect example, take Edward Snowden, arguably the world’s most famous tattletale. (Whistleblower, as they are called professionally). The former IT analyst has built a net worth of nearly $10 million and reportedly commands a $200,000 fee per public appearance.
Mr. Snowden may be the guy with films, books, video games and songs about him, yet there are other loose-lipped whistleblowers not nearly as famous who have amassed a fortune even greater than his. Take the case of Shareef Abdou.
Back in 2008, Mr. Abdou was just an ordinary dude living an ordinary life in an ordinary Woodland Hills home. By day, he toiled as an operations manager for Countrywide Home Loans, a local mortgage banker that was absorbed by Bank of America (BofA) that year.
In 2011, however, everything changed for Mr. Abdou. That year, he filed a confidential complaint in federal court against BofA, alleging improper loan practices. The entire contents of Mr. Abdou’s filing are much too complicated to dissect on this site, but his basic premise is that appraisals were being inflated to justify loans to poor credit risks, allowing larger loans (and higher fees) to be made illegally.
Mr. Abdou’s actions caused him nearly four years of stress and cost him many of his friends and his plum Bank of America job. Plus there were countless interviews with the FBI with which to contend. But in 2014, he was ultimately vindicated when BofA agreed to pay a historic (and record-breaking) $16.65 billion settlement to the Department of Justice in a civil settlement.
Later that same year, as was reported by the Wall Street Journal, the US Government announced that Mr. Abdou and two other former BofA employees — Robert Madsen and Edward O’Donnell — would receive whistleblower payouts totaling more than $150 million. Yes, kiddies, you read that right. Mr. Abdou’s courage gave him the sort of financial security that most lottery players dream about. (For the record, Mr. Abdou’s share of that total payout was reportedly $48 million).
We aren’t sure what Mr. Abdou has been up to professionally in the past few years. But he can certainly afford to take a long hiatus from work to indulge his passions. According to his personal website, he enjoys sailing, traveling, and “everything about the financial world“.
But onto the subject at hand. A couple months ago, a luxury mini-estate out in the expensive (yet oft-overlooked) Tarzana neighborhood of Los Angeles sold for $3,560,000. That’s a rather large number for the area and given that the home has a well-established history of celebrity owners, Yolanda was naturally curious about the buyer’s identity.
The home’s fame first blossomed in June 2011, when pop star Selena Gomez paid about $2.2 million for the property. She extensively renovated and expanded the existing residence before famously selling it — in September 2014 — for $3,450,000 to Lakers basketball star Nick Young, who dwelled there with his then-girlfriend, rapper Iggy Azalea.
Upon the erstwhile couple going Splitsville in 2016, Miss Azalea moved outta the house and Mr. Young soon sold the pad (at a slight loss) to a married pair of high-powered attorneys.
After less than one year of ownership, Mr. and Mrs. Attorney flipped the property at a $310k profit — for the aforementioned $3.56 million. As y’all might have guessed by now, the buyer is Mr. Abdou. And just for the record, Mr. Abdou paid cash and did not take a mortgage from Bank of America (especially not Bank of America!) or any other lender, for that matter.
Nestled on a leafy .83-acre corner lot, the resort-style compound is completely walled and gated for privacy. Naturally (given the home’s high-profile past) the property is outfitted with a high-tech security system and cameras galore.
A black driveway gate slides open to reveal a generous motorcourt and the home’s front facade. If Yolanda is being honest here, we personally find the structure itself a wee bit ungainly. But there’s no question that the multi-columned contemporary ranch-ish thing is plenty luxurious. And the lush grounds — the backyard features sprawling lawns, mature trees, formal gardens, fountains, a free-form swimming pool, firepit, full-size sports court and more — are impressive.
A candy apple-red front door provides a much-needed pop of color and leads into the main rooms of the home. Ebonized hardwood floors and a pleasantly neutral color scheme define the residence, and nearly every room sports coffered ceilings. The living and family rooms both feature large fireplaces, and the monochromatic kitchen has bar-style seating, marble countertops, and top-of-the-line appliances.
There are 4 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in the main house, and the master suite includes another fireplace, an all-white bathroom with soaking tub, and a sprawling closet with dedicated dressing area and acres of storage space.
Other fun at-home features are a study with private entrance and bathroom and a lounge/entertainment center with wet bar, fancy pool table and yet another fireplace. The home also features a bevy of French doors that provide easy access to various outdoor areas of the mini-estate.
We’re not sure if Mr. Abdou currently has a domestic partner or kid(s) — we believe him to be recently divorced — but if he does, we’re sure he/she/they will appreciate the three other roomy guest suites.
Tucked away above the two-car garage is a private upstairs guesthouse with one bedroom and two full bathrooms. Like the main house, this deluxe suite features ebonized hardwood floors, a spacious living area (with vaulted ceiling) and a surprisingly large kitchen with high-end appliances. The listing claims this guesthouse “[rivals] the Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons,” something Yolanda cannot confirm — we’ve never stayed in the Presidential Suite, our third ex-husband Randall was just too damn cheap. But this does look like a nice place — and look, there’s a private outdoor balcony, too.
Though he’s now a very wealthy man, our Mr. Abdou still owns his modest Woodland Hills starter house. Located in a rather unfashionable area of town — north of the 101 freeway and a few minutes from the Warner Center — records show that Mr. Abdou purchased the property way back in 2009 for just $437,000. This, of course, was when he was still working as a Bank of America manager.
The perfectly ordinary single-story abode has 3 beds and 1.75 baths in just 1,404-square-feet of living space. Just for comparison’s sake, his new Tarzana spread is nearly five times as big and cost more than eight times as much. Who said being a tattletale doesn’t pay?