The State of California’s Department of Justice indicated last month that it is pursuing an investigation that could lead to criminal identity theft against Wells Fargo Bank.
The DOJ served a warrant in early October seeking information about bank customers whose identities’ were compromised by unauthorized accounts, as well as the names of bank employees who opened accounts, managers who oversaw the employees, and fees and costs associated with opened accounts.
According to the DOJ, it presented a 14-page indictment in support of the warrant. The indictment claimed that there was significant evidence to suggest that bank employees accessed their customers’ personally identifying information (PII) for the purpose of opening fraudulent accounts in their names without authorization.
In addition, the employees transferred money from customers’ known accounts to their unauthorized accounts, credit accounts, life insurance policies, lines of credit and other bank products without the customers’ knowledge or permission. The purpose of the unauthorized accounts was to help sales personnel meet sales quotas imposed by Wells Fargo Bank. The fraudulent accounts and money transfers caused a number of bank customers to overdraft their accounts and incur overdraft fees and penalties. According to the Justice Department, Wells Fargo Bank collected more than $3 million in overdraft fees related to the fraudulent accounts.
In the wake of the scam’s revelation, Wells Fargo Bank fired more than 5,000 employees, and the bank’s former CEO, John Stumpf, announced his retirement. According to the bank, it is cooperating with the criminal investigation. California State Treasurer John Chiang said that the state would end its business relationship with the bank, and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office announced that it had reached a $185 milllion settlement with the bank in September.
Identity Theft Attorney
If you’re facing criminal charges related to identity theft or you are being investigated for identity theft, you need the assistance of an experienced identity theft attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively in California for more than 30 years, and is ready to take your case.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County identity theft/theft case.
Photo Credit: Ken Teegardin, via Flickr.com