Wells Fargo says that its customers gave up right to sue by having their signatures forged

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Even though disgraced Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has left the building, his most outrageous legal theories live on: on Wednesday, the company filed a motion in a federal court in Utah seeking dismissal of a class action suit by the customers it defrauded -- the bank argues that since customers sign a binding arbitration "agreement" when they open new accounts, that the customers whose signatures were forged on fraudulent new accounts should be subject to this agreement and denied a day in court. Read the rest

Whaling: phishing for executives and celebrities

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A fraudster's term of art, "whaling" refers to phishing attempts targeted at "C-level corporate executives, politicians and celebrities" -- it's a play on "phishing" (attacks that trick users into downloading dangerous files or visiting attack sites by impersonating known sources) and "whales" (a term of art from casinos, referring to high-stakes gamblers). Read the rest

Statcheck: a data-fakery algorithm that flagged 50,000 articles

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Michèle B. Nuijten and co's statcheck program re-examines the datasets in peer-reviewed science and flags anomalies that are associated with fakery, from duplication of data to internal inconsistencies. Read the rest

Senate investigates Wells Fargo retaliations against whistleblowers

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One after another, ex-Wells Fargo employees have come forward to reveal that when they blew the whistle of millions of frauds committed against the bank's customers, the bank's management fired them and blackballed them from the banking industry for life, by falsifying claims of wrongdoing on a semi-secret list of corrupt bankers that is consulted by the industry before they make new hires. Read the rest

Donald Trump weaponized fine-print to make it impossible to sue Wall Street for fraud

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In 1993, Donald Trump won a lawsuit brought by his investors that alleged he had defrauded them by lying in a prospectus; his defense was that his "perfect prospectus" contained lies, but it also contained enough fine-print cautioning investors about the possibility of lies that it was their own fault that he cheated them. Incredibly, the judge (a pre-Supreme Court Samuel Alito!) bought this. Read the rest

Wells Fargo blackballed employees who refused to commit fraud, forcing them out of the industry forever

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Earlier this month, Planet Money aired an interview with a Wells Fargo whistleblower who was fired for trying to alert the bank to the millions of criminal frauds being committed against its customers, and we learned that the whistleblower had been added to a confidential blacklist used by the finance industry, preventing her from ever getting work in the industry again. Read the rest

Better Business Bureau yanks Wells Fargo's accreditation

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The scandal-haunted bank has been de-accredited by the Better Business Bureau, a punishment meted out to companies that violate the BBB Standards of Trust, which include "tell the truth," "build trust," "honor promises" and "embody integrity." (via Reddit) Read the rest

The pathogens of Wells Fargo's corruption fester in every large corporation

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Despite the denials of its new CEO, Wells Fargo had a serious, widespread cultural problem that led it to commit at least 2,000,000 financial crimes. But the crimes and the culture are widespread across America's banks, and they spread further than that, because the system is rigged to reward financial crime. Read the rest

Wells Fargo's new CEO previously denied that the bank's sales culture had any problems

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Yesterday, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf announced his "early retirement" from the scandal-haunted company, with the CEO seat being filled by former COO Tim Sloan. Read the rest

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigns

First he was flayed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, then Congress had a go, then everyone got to gnaw on the fact that he'd done some seriously criminal stuff, then it emerged that he'd been a party to the bank's frauds since at least 2008, then we learned that his $200B bonus would be subsidized by taxpayers, then we learned that he walked through one of the bank's notorious boiler rooms every day, then his board of directors clawed back a couple million. Read the rest

Wells Fargo whistleblower: once I complained, they started denying me bathroom breaks

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Yesterday, I predicted that a lot of Wells Fargo whistleblowers were going to come forward, given how terribly Read the rest

Icelandic Supreme Court: all nine top bankers are guilty of market manipulation

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All nine of the top Icelandic bankers from the Kaupþing market manipulation case have been found guilty by the country's Supreme Court, which reversed the district court that had acquitted two of the defendants last year. Read the rest

When "reputation management" becomes perjury, forgery and fraud against America's federal courts

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If you want to get a piece of information removed from the internet, there are few tools more powerful that a court judgment saying that it is defamatory. A judgment like that will get Google to de-index the result and frighten most web-hosts into getting rid of it. So it follows that the sleaziest end of the "reputation management" industry has occupied itself with securing these court orders at high volumes and low costs. Read the rest

Whistleblower docs: Wells Fargo was opening fake accounts in 2005

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Dennis Hambek was a Wells Fargo branch manager. In 2005, he found Wells Fargo employees creating fake accounts in their customers' names (in order to meeting the company's punishing sales quotas and avoid being blackballed across the industry). He sent a certified letter about the practice in 2006 to Carrie Tolstedt -- the bank exec who oversaw the fraud and retired weeks ahead of the scandal with a $125,000,000 bonus -- and held onto the receipts. Read the rest

RBS deliberately crushed more than 1,000 healthy UK businesses to seize and sell their assets

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RBS, the bank that UK taxpayers bailed out during the financial crisis, after its reckless speculation drove it to bankruptcy, ran a fake "restructuring unit" that was pitched to business customers as a way of helping them weather the market turmoil, but was actually a loan-sharking operation that cranked up interest rates and imposed high penalties, deliberately driving healthy businesses into bankruptcy so that the bank could snap up their assets (illegally sharing information between business units so that RBS always beat the other bidders) and then selling them off to keep the bank profitable. Read the rest

Wells Fargo whistleblower describes bank's culture of blackballing threats and coerced corruption

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On the latest Planet Money podcast (MP3), a former San Francisco Wells Fargo banker describes the bullying and coercion she faced from senior management while working at the bank's head office, and how the bank forced her out when she blew the whistle on fraud and then blacklisted her with other banks, forcing her out of the sector altogether. Read the rest

The Wells Fargo fraud came to light because of union organizers

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Though Wells Fargo had been pressuring its employees to commit fraud since 1998, firing those who couldn't make quota, as well as the whistleblowers who came forward to report the fraud, it wasn't until the Committee for Better Banks launched a unionization drive to organize retail banking workers against punitive sales quotas that the crimes came to light. Read the rest

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