Kyle Lagow, 50
On a crusade since: 2005
Day job: Unemployed appraiser
Achievement: Blew the whistle on inflated home appraisals and got prosecutors' attention
Why he's a hero: A longtime Texas appraiser, Lagow first complained in 2005 about the way his employer, owned by lender Countrywide Financial, was puffing up valuations. Let go in 2008, he filed a whistleblower lawsuit the next year. His suit and others led to a $1 billion mortgage-fraud settlement this year by Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008. Lagow's cut for launching his case: $14.6 million.
Quote: "It's naive to think a bank could own an appraiser and not pressure it to raise values."
For these MONEY heroes, helping people in the workplace learn to manage their personal finances is an assignment they don't shirk.