Wells Fargo Employees Are Said to Improperly Alter Documents By Hannah Levitt


Wells Fargo Employees Are Said to Improperly Alter Documents
By Hannah Levitt
May 17, 2018, 10:06 AM EDT
Updated on May 17, 2018, 2:57 PM EDT

Wells Fargo & Co. found that employees in its wholesale unit added information to internal customer records without the clients’ knowledge, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The bank discovered the improper activity and reported it to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter hadn’t been publicly disclosed. The employees altered the documents in 2017 and earlier this year as they sought to satisfy regulatory demands related to anti-money-laundering controls, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the issue earlier Thursday.

Wells Fargo has struggled to move past a wave of scandals, which led to a Federal Reserve ban on increasing assets until the lender fixes missteps. The bank’s first-quarter results were marred by a charge of $800 million tied to a settlement with U.S. regulators. Earlier this month, the bank rolled out a new marketing campaign built around its efforts to regain customers’ trust.

Bryan Hubbard, an OCC spokesman, declined to comment. Wells Fargo spokesman Alan Elias said in an emailed statement that the bank can’t comment on regulatory matters, but that it takes “swift action to correct” any behavior that violates the firm’s values.

“This matter involves documents used for internal purposes,” Elias said. “No customers were negatively impacted, no data left the company, and no products or services were sold as a result.”

The bank’s shares dropped 1.6 percent at 2:40 p.m. in New York trading, the biggest decline in the 24-company KBW Bank Index.

— With assistance by Laura J Kelle

Wells Fargo’s 17-month nightmare, by Jackie Wattles, Ben Geier and Matt Egan

Wells Fargo’s 17-month nightmare
by Jackie Wattles, Ben Geier and Matt Egan @CNNMoney
February 5, 2018: 7:28 AM ET

http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/05/news/companies/wells-fargo-timeline/index.html

Wells Fargo draws bipartisan anger from Congress
Regulators fined Wells Fargo in September 2016 for repeatedly creating fake customer accounts to juice the bank’s books. The fine was big — $185 million — but the allegations were shocking.

On Friday night, Wells Fargo was hit with one of the harshest punishments ever handed down by the Federal Reserve. Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest banks, won’t be allowed to expand its business until it convinces the Fed it has cleaned up its act. The bank agreed to replace four members of its board of directors.

The Fed cited Wells Fargo’s “pervasive and persistent misconduct.” The past 17 months have brought one bad headline after another. The bank’s culture of misconduct extended well beyond the original revelations.

Wells Fargo was dragged before Congress, put under the microscope by government officials, and embarrassed before its customers. A new CEO and management team were brought in, and the old regime lost millions of dollars in docked pay.

2016

September 8: Fake account scandal breaks wide open. Federal regulators reveal Wells Fargo employees secretly created millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts without their customers knowing it. The bank is hit with a $185 million fine. Wells Fargo says 5,300 employees were fired for related reasons.

September 14: A government official tells CNN the Department of Justice has issued subpoenas in a probe related to the fake account scandal.

September 27: Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf forfeits pay. Stumpf says he will give up much of his 2016 salary, including a bonus and $41 million in stock awards. The first major executive leaves the company over the scandal. Carrie Tolstedt, who headed the division that created the fake accounts, steps down and forfeits some pay.

September 28: Wells Fargo is accused of illegally repossessing service members’ cars. The company agrees to pay $24 million to settle charges. The DOJ claims the bank took 413 cars without a court order, which violates federal law. The company apologizes and commits to refunds.

September 29: Wells Fargo promises to abandon unrealistic sales goals. Wells Fargo employees blamed their bosses for effectively encouraging fake accounts. Before lawmakers on Capitol Hill, CEO John Stumpf is accused of running “a criminal enterprise.”

October 5: California’s attorney general opens an investigation into possible identity fraud related to the fake accounts scandal.

October 12: CEO John Stumpf steps down. The company announces he will retire effective immediately.

November 3: SEC probe revealed. A new public filing from the bank discloses that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the bank for issues related to the creation of as many as 2 million fake accounts.

December 13: Wells Fargo is punished by federal regulators for actions unrelated to the fake accounts. The bank is dinged for failing to comply with certain provisions of Dodd-Frank, the post-2008 law meant to better regulate big banks and protect consumers.

2017

January 23: Wells Fargo acknowledges potential worker retaliation. The bank says there are signs it retaliated against workers who tried to blow the whistle on the fake accounts.

February 20: Four senior bank employees are fired. The employees either worked or used to work in Wells Fargo’s community banking division, which is at the center of the fake account scandal.

March 27: Federal agency accuses Wells Fargo of “egregious,” “discriminatory and illegal” practices. In an unusual move, a top federal banking regulator severely downgrades Wells Fargo’s community lending rating. The decision stems from factors beyond the fake account scandal.

March 27: Wells Fargo settles class action suit. The preliminary deal promises $110 million for wronged consumers.

April 10: Former executives are asked for money back. The bank claws back $75 million from two former executives for their roles in the fake accounts scandal, including another $28 million from former CEO John Stumpf. A new report from independent directors on the Wells Fargo board reveals the bank prepared an internal report in 2004 about practices that may encourage employees to create fake accounts.

April 21: The bank’s cost of a settlement goes up. The settlement in the class action suit is increased to $142 million.

June 14: New allegations about mortgages are leveled. In a new lawsuit, Wells Fargo is accused of modifying mortgages without authorization from the customers. That means some customers could have ended up paying the bank more than they owed. It’s unclear how many customers were affected. Wells Fargo says it “strongly denies” the claims.

July 27: New allegations about auto insurance are revealed. The bank admits it charged at least 570,000 customers for auto insurance they did not need. Wells Fargo says an internal review found about 20,000 customers may have defaulted on their car loans for related reasons.

August 4: Wells Fargo is sued for allegedly ripping off small businesses. A lawsuit accuses Wells Fargo of overcharging small businesses for credit card transactions by using a “deceptive” 63-page contract to confuse them.

August 31: More fake accounts are discovered. Wells Fargo says it has found 1.4 million additional phony accounts. This brings the total number of fake accounts to 3.5 million.

October 3: Wells Fargo says it wrongly fined mortgage clients. Wells Fargo admits that 110,000 mortgage holders were fined for missing a deadline — even though the delays were the company’s fault. The company pledges to refund the customers.

October 16: Regulators say Wells Fargo sold dangerous investments it didn’t understand. Regulators order the bank to pay back $3.4 million to brokerage customers because advisers recommended products that were “highly likely to lose value over time.” Wells Fargo does not admit to nor deny the charges.

November 13: Wells Fargo admits it illegally repossessed more service members’ cars. The company says it found that it had taken vehicles from another 450 service members. Wells Fargo agrees to pay an additional $5.4 million, according to the Justice Department. The company promises refunds.

2018

February 2: The Federal Reserve punishes Wells Fargo. In an unprecedented move, the Fed says the bank won’t be allowed to grow its assets until the bank cleans up its act. The bank also agrees to overhaul its board of directors.

–CNNMoney’s Donna Borak, Danielle Wiener-Bronner and Jill Disis contributed to this report.

MARCH 13, 2017 BY PRESS RELEASE Former Wells Fargo Branch Manager Convicted of Laundering Proceeds of Trademark Scam


MARCH 13, 2017 BY PRESS RELEASE
Former Wells Fargo Branch Manager Convicted of Laundering Proceeds of Trademark Scam
Submit the press release
http://www.satprnews.com/2017/03/13/former-wells-fargo-branch-manager-convicted-of-laundering-proceeds-of-trademark-scam/

A former manager of a Wells Fargo branch in Glendale, California, was convicted on Friday of money laundering and false bank entry charges in connection with laundering the proceeds of a trademark scam.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown of the Central District of California, Acting Inspector in Charge William H. Hedrick from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s (USPIS) Los Angeles Division, Inspector in Charge Regina L. Faulkerson of USPIS Criminal Investigation and Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

After a four-day jury trial, Albert Yagubyan, 37, of Burbank, California, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, four counts of concealment money laundering and one count of false bank entries. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 22, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from June 27, 2014 to Sept. 18, 2015, Yagubyan laundered over $1 million of proceeds from a mass-mailing scam run by co-conspirator Artashes Darbinyan, 37, of Glendale, California, who used companies that they called “Trademark Compliance Center” (TCC) and “Trademark Compliance Office” (TCO) in order to make fraudulent offers to trademark applicants for registration and monitoring services.

Yagubyan laundered the funds by instructing subordinates at the bank to open bogus bank accounts, into which proceeds of the TCC and TCO scam were deposited, and process fraudulent withdrawals, wire transfers and cashier’s checks for co-conspirators Darbinyan and Orbel Hakobyan, 42, also of Glendale, the evidence showed. The cashier’s checks and wire transfers were made out to gold dealers. The bank accounts were opened using the identities of individuals from Eastern Europe who were not in the United States at the time the accounts were opened. The evidence at trial further showed that Darbinyan paid Yagubyan a percentage of the laundered proceeds. Yagubyan, in turn, made payments and promises of promotion to subordinates to induce them to conduct the fraudulent transactions. When Wells Fargo’s loss prevention office flagged the bogus accounts for closure, Yagubyan intervened to try and keep them open, the evidence showed.

Darbinyan and Hakobyan pleaded guilty in December 2016 to mail fraud and money laundering charges and are scheduled for sentencing on June 19, 2017, before Judge Wilson. The investigation has resulted in a total of five convictions.

USPIS and IRS-CI investigated the case. Trial Attorneys William E. Johnston and Alison L. Anderson and Assistant Chief Brian K. Kidd of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

2 million phony accounts Wells Fargo!

Together we'll go far Wells Fargo Home Page

5,300 Wells Fargo employees fired over 2 million phony accounts

Everyone hates paying bank fees. But imagine paying fees on a ghost account you didn’t even sign up for.

That’s exactly what happened to Wells Fargo customers nationwide.

On Thursday, federal regulators said Wells Fargo (WFC) employees secretly created millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts — without their customers knowing it — since 2011.

The phony accounts earned the bank unwarranted fees and allowed Wells Fargo employees to boost their sales figures and make more money.

“Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses,” Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in a statement.

Wells Fargo confirmed to CNNMoney that it had fired 5,300 employees over the last few years related to the shady behavior. Employees went so far as to create phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services, the CFPB said.

Related: Who owns Wells Fargo? You, me and Warren Buffett

The scope of the scandal is shocking. An analysis conducted by a consulting firm hired by Wells Fargo concluded that bank employees opened over 1.5 million deposit accounts that may not have been authorized.

The way it worked was that employees moved funds from customers’ existing accounts into newly-created ones without their knowledge or consent, regulators say. The CFPB described this practice as “widespread.” Customers were being charged for insufficient funds or overdraft fees — because there wasn’t enough money in their original accounts.

Additionally, Wells Fargo employees also submitted applications for 565,443 credit card accounts without their customers’ knowledge or consent. Roughly 14,000 of those accounts incurred over $400,000 in fees, including annual fees, interest charges and overdraft-protection fees.

The CFPB said Wells Fargo will pay “full restitutions to all victims.”

Related: ATM and overdraft fees top $6 billion at the big 3 banks

Wells Fargo is being slapped with the largest penalty since the CFPB was founded in 2011. The bank agreed to pay $185 million in fines, along with $5 million to refund customers.

“We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request,” Wells Fargo said in a statement.

Wells Fargo has the highest market valuation among any bank in America, worth just north of $250 billion. Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), the investment firm run legendary investor Warren Buffett, is the company’s biggest shareholder.

Of the total fines, $100 million will go toward the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund, $35 million will go to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and another $50 million will be paid to the City and County of Los Angeles.

“One wonders whether (the CFPB) penalty of $100 million is enough,” said David Vladeck, a Georgetown University law professor and former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “It sounds like a big number, but for a bank the size of Wells Fargo, it isn’t really.”

Wells Fargo confirmed to CNNMoney that the 5,300 firings took place over several years. The bank listed 265,000 employees as of the end of 2015.

Related: Barclays fined $109 million for trying to hide a deal with rich clients

“At Wells Fargo, when we make mistakes, we are open about it, we take responsibility, and we take action,” the bank said in a memo to employees on Thursday.

The CFPB declined to comment on when the investigation began and what sparked it, citing agency policy. “We don’t comment on how we uncover these matters,” a spokesman said.

As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo needs to make changes to its sales practices and internal oversight.

Customers are fuming. Brian Kennedy, a Maryland retiree, told CNNMoney he detected an unauthorized Wells Fargo account had been created in his name about a year ago. He asked Wells Fargo about it and the bank closed it, he said.

“I didn’t sign up for any bloody checking account,” Kennedy, who is 57 years old, told CNNMoney. “They lost me as a banking customer and I have warned family and friends.”

“Consumers must be able to trust their banks,” said Mike Feuer, the Los Angeles City Attorney who joined the settlement.

Feuer’s office sued Wells Fargo in May 2015 over allegations of unauthorized accounts. After filing the suit, his office received more than 1,000 calls and emails from customers as well as current and former Wells Fargo employees about the allegations.

Wells Fargo declined to say when it hired a consulting firm to investigate the allegations. However, a person familiar with the matter told CNNMoney the bank launched the review after the L.A. lawsuit was filed.

Even though the Wells Fargo scandal took place nationally, the settlement with L.A. requires the bank to specifically alert all its California customers to review their accounts and shut down ones they don’t recognize or want.

“How does a bank that is supposed to have robust internal controls permit the creation of over a half-million dummy accounts?” asked Vladeck. “If I were a Wells Fargo customer, and fortunately I am not, I’d think seriously about finding a new bank.”

–To reach the author of this article email Matt.Egan@cnn.com

City of Springfield Banned all Foreclosures! How Will The Supreme Court Rule On That?

 

BOSTON – A group of Western Massachusetts banks argued before the state’s highest court on Thursday that the city of Springfield’s anti-foreclosure ordinances should be overturned.

The banks say the local ordinances contradict state laws, and a bond levied on lenders constitutes an illegal tax. “It’s not that banks are opposed to mortgage laws and reform, but to how it’s being done,” said Craig Kaylor, general counsel for Hampden Bank, one of the banks that brought the lawsuit. “These are for the state to decide, not city by city.”

But the city disagrees and says the laws are necessary to avoid blight and protect neighborhoods that have high rates of foreclosure.

“This is the city’s response to the foreclosure crisis,” said Springfield Assistant City Solicitor Thomas Moore, who argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court. “It’s a response from the city council and mayor based on what they see every day in the city. They’ve taken the strongest stance to protect homeowners and the city itself.”

The city of Springfield passed two anti-foreclosure ordinances in 2011 as the city was being hit hard by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. One ordinance requires a bank that forecloses on a home to pay for a $10,000 bond, which can be used by the city to maintain the foreclosed properties, if the bank fails to do so.

The other ordinance requires the establishment of a mandatory mediation program to help homeowners facing foreclosure. The bank would be responsible for paying most of the cost of the mediation.

Springfield is among the top cities in the state in the number of distressed properties it has. The city says high rates of foreclosures lead to health and education problems for children in families that lose their homes, and high rates of blighted or vacant properties lead to crime and violence in those neighborhoods.

Six western Massachusetts banks, with Easthampton Savings Bank as the lead plaintiff, challenged the ordinances. A U.S. District court judge upheld the ordinances. However, on appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a stay preventing Springfield from enforcing them. The federal court then asked the Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, to answer two questions related to state law before the federal court makes its ruling. The case is Easthampton Savings Bank and others vs. City of Springfield.

The SJC must decide whether the local foreclosure ordinances are preempted by existing state foreclosure laws. The court must also decide whether the $10,000 bond is a legal fee or an illegal tax. Cities and towns cannot create taxes without legislative approval.

The banks also argue that the ordinances violate the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution by impairing the contract between the homeowner and the mortgage-holder, a question that remains before the federal court.

During Thursday’s arguments, Tani Sapirstein, an attorney representing the banks, argued that the bond is a tax because banks do not get any particular benefit from paying it – which is the criteria for calling something a fee. The way the bond works is when a foreclosed property is sold, if the city did not have to use the bond money to maintain it, $9,500 would be returned to the bank and $500 is kept by the city as an administrative fee, used to maintain blighted properties and implement the foreclosure laws.

Chief Justice Ralph Gants questioned Sapirstein on whether the bank does not actually receive benefits. “You have an interest in preserving the value of your property,” Gants said. “If there are foreclosed properties going to hell all around your property, it diminishes the value of your property and diminishes the value of what you receive on the foreclosure. Why is this concern about avoiding blight not something that would benefit the bank as well as the city?”

Sapirstein replied that eliminating blight would benefit the bank “as well as the city and other property owners in the neighborhood.” “How is that a particularized benefit?” she said.

Moore argued that the bond is a fee, which the city needs to hire code inspectors and create a database of who controls foreclosed properties.

But Justice Geraldine Hines said if she pays for a copy of her birth certificate, she gets a document in return for the fee. “Here I don’t see that,” she said. “The property owners, the mortgagees, don’t have something tangible.”

Moore said the banks get a “well-regulated industry” and preservation of their property values. In addition, when a bank registers ownership in the database, the city knows who is responsible and problems can be resolved more easily.

Sapirstein also argued that local law cannot require more than state law in an area that is regulated by the state or the result would be “a patchwork of ordinances.”

Gants indicated that the court may move to narrow the ordinances – for example, applying them only to a bank that has taken possession of a house, not a bank that is in the process of foreclosure when the homeowner is still living there. Gants said the ordinance as written could fine a bank for not maintaining a property where the homeowner still lives. As a homeowner, Gants said, “I’d say I’m still living here. This is my home. How can they be punished for not invading what’s still my home just because they happen to be foreclosing on it?” Gants said.

Moore acknowledged that the ordinance may be overbroad and said the city does not anticipate pursuing a violation in a case like that. Moore said the lenders’ lawsuit is premature because there is no information yet about how the city will enforce the laws. “We have the lenders essentially saying the sky will be falling, we are worried about x, y, z happening. None of that has happened and none of that may happen,” Moore said.

Moore said the city is still writing the regulations for the ordinances and if they are upheld, “The city is ready to go forward with implementation within a period of weeks.”

Similar foreclosure ordinances were established in Lynn and Worcester, and local banks challenged those as well. That lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in Worcester. The case involving Lynn and Worcester could be affected by the SJC’s ruling in the Springfield case.

Several activists supporting homeowners came in from Lynn and Springfield to hear the arguments. Candejah Pink, a Springfield homeowner and community organizer battled foreclosure for four years before reaching an agreement to keep her home. She helped write the Springfield ordinances. Pink said the bond is there to ensure that homes are maintained, which keeps crime and violence down. The mediation program, she said, is important to help homeowners come to an agreement with lenders. “We’re not asking to live in our homes for free. We’re asking for some mediation,” she said.

SHEEPLE AWAKEN!!!

Once Upon a Time…. I Thought the Worst We Had To Face Was Foreclosure Hell, I WAS WRONG!

Posted on  

Ya know, I used to think that Foreclosure Hell was the worst thing we in this Country had to face.  Wow, Was I Wrong!

I didn’t realize that just like in Japan, they will cook us to death with radiation, and not even bother to tell us.  I have condemned the Japanese for nuking the world and not telling us the truth about it, but fuck me, this country is doing the same thing.

While most people go about their daily business, they never think about the fact, that a pleasure of getting rained on is killing them.  We are the walking dead, and being asleep to the fact is just fucking us up more.

I would apologize for my slang, no, crude language, but something needs to wake these sleeping zombies up!

So, they are not only going to take every house they can get their grimy paws on, but they are going to continue the slow kill of humankind from the planet.  

It is not the kids growing up now that will suffer so much, it is like the butterfly test in Fukushima.  It is the children’s children that will be riddled with deformities. 

No matter what they try to tell us, we cannot be stupid, and believe that radiation is ok.  The thought of believing that, well, it is, stupid.  The sheeple that make up this country now, is amazing.  If the government says the radiation is not hurting us, we’ll just believe them.  Because the government says so?  Yall need to get out from under the rock, and out of the sun, cause damn!  You been drinking too much water with fluoride in it, for too long, and it has made you dumb!  I take that back, it has made you dumber than dirt!

For years, they have been doing things with the weather, with our food, with our prescriptions, our health!  They have taken healthy human beings and turned them into out of shape, fat slugs that have lives that are meant for cattle.  Chemtrails is no lie either.  What about HARP?  I guess that you also believe that 911 was not an inside job.

No, I am not a conspiracy theorist, I believe in taking what is put before me, studying it, seeing it for what it is, listening to scientists, listening to experts, and deducing my own opinion.  You see, we woke up.  We quit drinking the tap water.  We quit watching the regular news.  The news media is brainwashing you sheeple, which is not hard for them to do.

Terrorists are here, they are going to get you, so we have to militarize the Police forces.  These false flag shootings, are to outrage you sheeple, so that you will agree that guns are bad, and they can confiscate our guns.  We are told that our rights have to be taken, so that we can be protected from the terrorists, etc.,

If you are so blind you cannot see your nose on your face, you will not notice that Fannie Mae, and the banks are throwing our elderly out on the street.  Right now, in Goodyear, Arizona, an 83 year old woman and her 86 year old husband are being thrown out of their home.  No one cares.  In Colorado Springs, CO, an 82 year old woman is being thrown out of her home.  No one cares.

What the hell is wrong with you sheeple?  It’s not you, so it is Ok?  The Bank With the Most Homes in the End Wins, Get Used to It!!!

Sheeple Awaken!

Neil Garfield Telling It As It Is…”Bullying As An Acceptable Way of Life – Covered By A Corporate Shell Game!

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