A new bill from Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes personal, criminal liability for top executives of companies turning over more than $1B/year when those companies experience data breaches and scams due to negligence (many of the recent high-profile breaches would qualify, including the Equifax giga-breach, as well as many of Wells Fargo's string of scams and scandals).
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Wells Fargo is America's largest bank and it also leads the nation's banks for scandals, having stolen from rich people, poor people, veterans, active-service military personnel, homeowners, small businesses, etc, as well as 2,000,000 ordinary customers who had fraudulent accounts opened in their names in order to bleed them of transaction fees, sometimes at the expense of their good credit and even their financial solvency.
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Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan has only been on the job since October, but he's earned a 35%, $4.6m raise, despite flat earnings and a series of scandals since Sloan took over from the cartoonishly villainous John Stumpf.
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For decades, Wells Fargo pressured its employees to commit millions of acts of fraud against its customers, using threats and blackballing to terrorize low-level employees. Read the rest
Former CEO John Stumpf (a major villain in the subprime scandal) previously lost $41m out of the $200m he made overseeing a multi-year fraud that stole from 2,000,000 of the bank's customers -- now he will have to repay another $28m. Read the rest
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
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
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
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
Here's two hours of Democratic and Republican congresspeople not taking any weaselly bullshit from disgraced Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.
In September 2016, Wells Fargo was issued a combined total of $185 million in fines for creating over 1.5 million checking and savings accounts and 500,000 credit cards that its customers never authorized. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued $100 million in fines, the largest in the agency's five-year history, along with $50 million in fines from the City and County of Los Angeles, and $35 million in fines from the Office of Comptroller of the Currency. The scandal was caused by an incentive-compensation program for employees to create new accounts. It led to the firing of nearly 5,300 employees and $5 million being set aside for customer refunds on fees for accounts the customers never wanted.
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Wells Fargo's Board of Directors have finally exercised their right to claw back part of the hundreds of millions of dollars taken home by two senior executives who were compensated on the basis of the fraudulent earnings the bank took in while opening 2,000,000 secret accounts in their customers' names, taking money out of those customers' real accounts to pay for the fees and penalties accrued by the fake accounts, and trashing their customers' credit in the process. Read the rest
When four named whistleblowers came forward to reveal that they'd been illegally fired from Wells Fargo for reporting that the company was experiencing widespread fraud, it was deja vu all over again: Wells also punished whistleblowers who sounded the alarm during the subprime crisis, and was thus so totally compromised that they needed a $36B taxpayer bailout. Read the rest
Beth Jacobson was a Wells Fargo loan officer who blew the whistle on the bank's predatory, racist loan-fraud in the runup to the 2008 financial crisis, which tanked the world's economy and nearly wiped out Wells Fargo (they were rescued with a $36B taxpayer-funded bailout). Read the rest
Normally, companies that give "performance pay" to their execs can only write off the first $1M: but when Wells Fargo gave $125M to Carrie Tolstedt (shown above receiving American Banker's 2010 award for being "the most powerful woman in banking") as she "retired" after overseeing a 5-year period in which Wells Fargo's top brass were aware that their employees were opening 2 million fake accounts in their customers' names, Wells structured the payment as a "bonus," meaning that the company took a $78 million off its taxes, pocketing $27m in savings. Read the rest