Wells Fargo, one of the largest U.S. financial services companies, has agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve the U.S. government’s investigations into fraudulent sales practices spanning over 15 years. The Wells Fargo fraud case involved the company forging customer signatures, moving money from millions of customer accounts to unauthorized accounts, and misusing customers’ sensitive personal information.
Illegal Practices for Over 15 Years
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday that Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve criminal and civil investigations into fraudulent sales practices involving millions of customer accounts. The practices occurred between 2002 and 2016 when the company pressured its employees to meet unrealistic sales goals. The DOJ stated:
Wells Fargo admitted that it collected millions of dollars in fees and interest to which the company was not entitled, harmed the credit ratings of certain customers, and unlawfully misused customers’ sensitive personal information, including customers’ means of identification.
“When a reputable institution like Wells Fargo caves to the pernicious forces of greed, and puts its own interests ahead of those of the customers it claims to serve, my office will not sit idle,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina commented. “No institution is too big, too powerful, or too well-known to be held accountable and face enforcement action for its wrongdoings.”
Founded in 1852, the San Francisco-headquartered company provides banking, investment, and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance. It currently has $1.9 trillion in assets, 7,400 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, and offices in 32 countries and territories.