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Azadian Law Group
September 27, 2016

ALG Probes Wells Fargo for Retaliation & Wrongful Termination

The lawyers at the Azadian Law Group are conducting an employment law investigation into Wells Fargo terminating employees who complained about opening unauthorized accounts. This month federal regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fined Wells Fargo $100 million for opening checking and credit card accounts on behalf of customers who had no idea what was happening. This fraudulent practice began as far back as 2011, but investigators have only recently uncovered the illegal activity. Subsequently, many Wells Fargo employees have come forward with accusations that they had been terminated for going to upper management to complain about the illegal activity.

“Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “Because of the severity of these violations, Wells Fargo is paying the largest penalty the CFPB has ever imposed. Today’s action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences.”

Wells Fargo Allegedly Fires Workers in Retaliation for Complaining About Phony Accounts

Federal regulators reported that Wells Fargo allegedly fired 5,300 employees nationwide after they had secretly created millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts. Here are more details and allegations surrounding the wrongful termination and retaliation investigation:

  • Employees began making the phony accounts in 2011, and they were allegedly made without customers being aware of it.
  • The fake accounts earned the bank unwarranted fees and helped boost the Wells Fargo employees sales performance figures.
  • Some employees actually devised fake PIN numbers and phony email accounts to make it appear as though customers were enrolling in the bank’s online services.
  • Some of the initial investigations show that employees opened more than 1.5 million new accounts that were not legally authorized by the customers.
  • California employees who were terminated based on their complaints may have a number of legal claims, including wrongful termination and retaliation in violation of California Labor Code Section 1102.5.

How They Allegedly Bilked the Fake Well Fargo Accounts

The whole process of creating the fake accounts was easy enough, say federal regulators. The employees would move funds from an existing customer account into a new one without their knowledge or consent. Here’s how the bank benefited:

  • Customers are charged for insufficient funds
  • Customers are charged for overdraft fees
  • Wells Fargo employees also created roughly 565,500 credit card accounts, and 14,000 of those accounts were charged with $400,000 in fees – such as annual fees, overdraft protection, and interest charges

Wells Fargo has told the CFPB that it will return any money in full to all victims of the alleged banking scam. Wells Fargo has also agreed to pay $185 million in fines, as well as $5 million for victim restitution. The City and County of Los Angeles will receive $50 as part of the penalty settlement. California residents who have Wells Fargo accounts are being told to review and shut down any accounts that they don’t recognize.

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

CONTACT A LOS ANGELES EMPLOYMENT LAW ATTORNEY AT THE AZADIAN LAW GROUP, PC

If you worked for Wells Fargo in California, made complaints about opening unauthorized accounts, and were terminated in the past two years, we would like to offer you a free consultation. Contact a Los Angeles Employment Law Attorney at the Azadian Law Group, PC for a free case review to find out more about your options for recovery and justice.

You can call us directly at 626-449-4944 or send us an email via our contact form to find out more about how we can help you. If you choose to move forward with us, you will not have to pay us any legal fees until or unless compensation is secured for your case.

Based in beautiful Pasadena and Downtown Los Angeles, our Los Angeles law employment attorney provides exceptional legal service and representation to employees who feel they’ve been the victims of retaliation and wrongful termination throughout the state of California.

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1“5,300 Wells Fargo employees fired over 2 million phony accounts” published in CNN Money, September 2016.

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