Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million in penalties for perpetuating a massive fraud on the American people back in 2016. Wells Fargo boasted it had also laid off 5,300 employees who had helped perpetuate that lie. Not surprisingly, none of the big bank’s executives were laid off. At the time, its soon-to-be-fired-and-well-compensated CEO John Stumpf told a Senate committee hearing: “Each team member, no matter where they are in their organization, is encouraged to raise a hand if they are being asked to do something they do not feel is right.” As with pretty much everything else Stumpf told the senators present during his hearing, that was a lie.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor ordered Wells Fargo to “pay more than $22M for retaliating against executive that alleged financial misconduct.” According to the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had found that Wells Fargo had violated whistleblower protection provisions when they terminated a senior manager who pointed out the bank was acting fraudulently. To be crystal clear on this, this fraud wasn’t some twisted lawyer logic pretzel giving Wells Fargo plausible deniability. The fraud they perpetuated included real low-level scumbaggery like creating fake accounts and fake credit cards.
RELATED STORY: Wells Fargo workers coming out of the woodwork to say that they pointed out frauds and were fired
Stumpf, who has since been barred from ever being in the banking industry again, was slapped with a $17.5 million fine in 2020 for overseeing this organized crime. At the same time, Stumpf received just about $125 million in compensation from Wells Fargo. You don’t have to be Archimedes to see how that math doesn’t add up.
As for the Chicago-based manager who was fired by Wells Fargo for pointing out that their own company-required training had led him to both understand and then report the fraud, the Department of Labor found that Wells Fargo’s haughty laziness extended to covering up its fraud by firing whistleblowers: “After initially failing to provide a reason for the termination, Wells Fargo later alleged the manager was terminated as part of a restructuring process. However, investigators found the removal was not consistent with Wells Fargo’s treatment of other managers removed under the initiative.”
At the time of Stumpf’s appearance in front of the Senate committee, numerous former Wells Fargo workers at all levels came forward to say they too had been fired for pointing out the laundry list of frauds being perpetrated around them by the bank. Wells Fargo has repeatedly claimed that they did not retaliate against whistleblowers. Let’s get in the way back machine and go to September 2020. Here’s an exchange between Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and then-CEO John Stumpf about an email he had received from a Wells Fargo employee in 2011 concerning the possible fraud being created by Wells Fargo:
Mr. Stumpf said “I don’t remember that one.”
Mr. Menendez replied: “Well, she was fired.”
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Wells Fargo is fined $185 million and fires 5,300 employees over fraud
Wells Fargo executive who oversaw fraud and thousands fired now collecting $124.6 million