San Francisco
San Francisco
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Jail The Bankers NOW At Wells Fargo-They Are Not Too Big To Nail! Expropriate the Bank

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Event Type:
Press Conference
United Public Workers For Action
Location Details:
Wells Fargo World Corporate Headquarters
420 Montgomery St near Sacramento St.
San Francisco

10/26 Rally/Press Conference At World Headquarters Of Wells Fargo
Jail The Bankers NOW At Wells Fargo-They Are Not Too Big To Nail!
Expropriate the Bank and Make It A Public Bank For working people and the public and not the criminal profiteers

Press Conference and Rally
Wednesday October 26, 2016 4:30 PM
Wells Fargo World Corporate Headquarters
420 Montgomery St near Sacramento St.
San Francisco

The massive criminal enterprise of Wells Fargo Executive and owners to bully workers to illegally open up accounts on their customers and then bilk them of fees has been exposed in hearings yet the US Justice Department refuses to file criminal charges. Coercing workers to commit criminal fraud is a crime that could not only be prosecuted by the US Justice Department but Attorney General Kamala Harris and District Attorney Gascon yet all these enforcement officials are conspicuously MIA.
At the same time US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Federal OSHA chief David Micheals refused to investigate complaints about retaliation against Wells Fargo workers who refused to violate the banking laws and illegally open accounts. They went to OSHA and the DOL and the managers refused to allow investigation and prosecutions and/or referrals to other agencies for prosecution. This was a further example that these government agencies which are supposed to protect workers and the public have been captured by the companies like Wells Fargo which they are supposed to regulate.
Former US attorney general Eric Holder said that some companies are too big to nail and apparently that applies to Wells Fargo which is the 4th largest bank in the United States. At the same time the State of California has broken financial ties to Wells Fargo as well as other governments around the state yet Mayor Ed Lee, the SF Supervisors and the San Francisco Pension Board continue to do business with Wells Fargo bank despite it's criminal activity.
The people of San Francisco and California deserve a public bank run by working people and the community. The bank should be seized, the executives jailed and it should be made a public bank that will work for the people and not profits for the billionaires.

Initial Sponsor
United Public Workers For Action
For more information (415)282-1908

Wells Fargo complaints show flaws in federal whistleblower program
Thu Oct 13, 2016 | 6:32pm EDT
Wells Fargo complaints show flaws in federal whistleblower program

Wells Fargo scandal emboldens fight against big banks

By Sarah N. Lynch | WASHINGTON
Former Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) general manager Claudia Ponce de Leon filed a whistleblower complaint in December 2011 with federal labor regulators, alleging she was fired for telling superiors about employees opening unauthorized accounts.

Nearly five years later, she has not been interviewed by investigators at the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), said her attorney Yosef Peretz.

Her complaint claiming retaliation by Wells Fargo for reporting potential misconduct is one of several dozens filed against the bank over the last 14 years, Reuters has found.

Their existence shows U.S. government regulators are still not meeting targets set by law -- a problem that was also flagged in a critical internal report issued in September 2015.

As of Oct. 6, the agency had yet to close out 34 of the 91 complaints it has received since fiscal year 2002 from Wells Fargo employees alleging they faced retaliation after reporting potential wrongdoing, according to department data obtained through a Reuters public records request. The department did not disclose details of the claims or the dates they were filed, and it remained unclear how many were related to the ongoing scandal involving Wells staffers opening as many as 2 million accounts without customer permission. It is also unclear how those 91 complaints against Wells Fargo compares with other corporations.

The bank last month agreed to pay $190 million in fines and customer restitution in a settlement with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and other regulators.

In late September, Reuters identified Ponce de Leon and at least four other former Wells Fargo employees who reported to OSHA between 2009 and 2014 that they were fired for raising concerns about the opening of unauthorized accounts and credit cards. Of the five OSHA complaints seen by Reuters, Ponce de Leon's case has been pending since December 2011, and another 2014 case was initially dismissed by an OSHA investigator on grounds that were later reversed on appeal by a Labor Department administrative law judge. The bank ultimately reached a settlement with the employee in 2015.

The three other complaints - one in 2009 and two in 2010 - were transferred to state and federal courts, respectively.

One employee of the Labor Department involved with the cases has since filed his own whistleblower claim against the agency, alleging his office has a history of mishandling cases. His complaint does not reference the Wells Fargo complaints specifically.

"It's absolutely outrageous that whistleblowers contacted OSHA as early as 2009 about potential fraud at Wells Fargo, and yet these government bureaucrats failed to do their job," said Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican who has been looking into how Wells Fargo's sales practices have impacted small business owners.

Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez said last month that the department has launched a "top-to-bottom" review of prior Wells Fargo whistleblower complaints.

Agency spokesman Jesse Lawder said it is the department's policy not to comment on specific whistleblower cases, but said the review aims to "ensure whistleblowers receive the protections and remedies afforded them."

FILE PHOTO -- Protestors gather outside the Wells Fargo & Co corporate campus in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
Richele Messick, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, could not comment on individual cases, but said the bank "does not tolerate retaliation against team members who report their concerns and will take measures to protect team members from retaliation."

From fiscal year 2005 through 2015, less than two percent of all whistleblower complaints filed with OSHA were won on the merits, federal statistics show. The rest were either settled, dismissed or transferred to federal courts. Lawyers who represent whistleblowers say OSHA investigators face challenges. One problem is the "crushing case load," which can lead to significant delays, said attorney Jason Zuckerman.

OSHA, which received 3,288 whistleblower cases in fiscal year 2015, currently has 88 full-time investigators across the country in 10 regional offices.


OSHA refers whistleblower complaints to the relevant federal regulators to investigate. But the office does not always refer them promptly, or sometimes at all, the Labor Department's inspector general found last year.

An earlier audit in September 2010 found that 80 percent of complaints it reviewed were not properly investigated, meaning OSHA staff did not take steps such as interviewing the employee, obtaining a witness list or allowing the employee to refute the employer's defense. The subsequent audit in September 2015 noted improvements, finding that 18 percent of complaints reviewed failed to meet certain investigative criteria. Still, it also found that 72 percent of all of OSHA's investigations were not performed within the 30, 60 or 90-day time frames specified by various whistleblower protection laws.

OSHA disputed some of those findings at the time, saying the audit relied on "inaccurate data" to determine how well it referred cases to other regulators.

Labor Department spokeswoman Amanda McClure said OSHA's practice is to send copies of complaints when it receives them and its findings at the conclusion of the investigation to either the Securities and Exchange Commission or the CFPB, depending on which federal whistleblower law applies.

It is not clear whether OSHA, which received complaints of the unauthorized account openings at Wells Fargo dating at least as far as 2009, referred the matters to federal banking regulators, such as the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The CFPB, a new agency launched in July 2011, has said it did not start investigating the issue until it received tips from whistleblowers in mid-2013.

The OCC has said it first learned about the issues after it received a "small number" of complaints from consumers and bank employees in March 2012. Those complaints and media reports in December 2013 led the regulator to step up its supervision of Wells Fargo.

Darrell Whitman - a former OSHA investigator in the San Francisco office from 2010-2015 - was assigned to three of the five cases examined by Reuters from former Wells Fargo employees alleging retaliation for reporting improper sales tactics. Whitman said he only briefly dealt with Ponce de Leon's 2011 case before it was transferred to another investigator, and he was instructed to close the two 2010 cases because they were slated to be transferred to a federal court.

Another investigator assigned at one point to Ponce de Leon's case, Susan Kamlet, told Reuters the case sat in a stack of other files and that her manager controlled which cases had priority.

Now the former OSHA investigators are making their own claims of retaliation.

Whitman alleges he was fired for raising concerns about the agency's mishandling of whistleblower complaints, and Kamlet says she was fired for supporting his accounts and for raising concerns about a particular case she was investigating.

Whitman has since filed a whistleblower complaint of his own with the Office of Special Counsel, an office that investigates retaliation against federal employees.

His complaint is still pending.

The Labor Department spokeswoman and the Office of Special Counsel declined to comment.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Edward Tobin)

WW 10-4-16 Bullied Wells Fargo Workers & OSHA And SEIU 1021 Contra Costa Social Workers Strike
WorkWeek looks at the criminal fraud at Wells Fargo and how Wells Fargo workers were bullied and retaliated against for making complaints about the criminal activity at the bank.
Reuters white collar crime reporter Sarah Lynch and former Federal OSHA lawyer and investigator Darrell Whitman are interviewed. Whitman had been assigned some of the cases of Wells Fargo workers who were being bullied for refusing to engage in criminal fraud being pushed by the bank.
Whitman also discusses the culture of corruption at the Department of Labor and OSHA including bullying against OSHA workers and illegal systemic discrimination against workers with disabilities.
WorkWeek also looks at the strike of 1300 SEIU 1021 social service and eligibility workers who went on strike in Contra Costa County against poverty wages and a 40% staff shortage.
For additional media:
Production of WorkWeek Radio
workweek [at]

Wells Fargo CEO Steps Down, But for Warren It's "Not Real Accountability"
'A bank CEO should not be able to oversee a massive fraud and simply walk away to enjoy his millions in retirement,' said Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Thursday, October 13, 2016
byCommon Dreams
Wells Fargo CEO Steps Down, But for Warren It's "Not Real Accountability"
'A bank CEO should not be able to oversee a massive fraud and simply walk away to enjoy his millions in retirement,' said Sen. Elizabeth Warren
byDeirdre Fulton, staff writer

In September, Elizabeth Warren told John Stumpf: "You should resign, you should give back the money you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission." (Photo: AP)
The announced retirement of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf on Wednesday wasn't enough for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who said the top executive must face more consequences for his role in the recent fake-account scandal.

According to a Wells Fargo statement released late Wednesday afternoon, Stumpf had informed the company's board he was stepping down, effective immediately. The bank said its president and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tim Sloan would take over as CEO.

USA Today reported:

While Stumpf doesn't receive a special retirement payout, executive-pay tracker Equilar estimates he'll walk with $134.1 million. The package remains that large even after Stumpf last month agreed to a $41 million clawback following a grilling he received from the Senate Banking Committee reprimanding him for not taking responsibility. He agreed to give up unvested stock, but still owns shares vested in previous years.

At that committee hearing last month, Warren skewered Stumpf for what she described as "gutless leadership."

"This is about accountability," Warren said at the time. "You should resign, you should give back the money you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission."

In a series of tweets and a statement on Wednesday night, Warren noted that only one of those objectives had been achieved.

"Wells Fargo was caught in a massive, years-long scam that cheated thousands of customers while senior bank executives made millions of dollars," the senator wrote on Facebook. "As I said at the hearing last month, Mr. Stumpf should resign, return every nickel he made while this scam was going on, and face an investigation by the Justice Department and SEC. So far, he's one for three."

"If Mr. Stumpf is leaving with all of his ill-gotten millions, that's still not real accountability," Warren continued. "A bank teller would face criminal charges and a prison sentence for stealing a handful of 20s from the cash drawer. A bank CEO should not be able to oversee a massive fraud and simply walk away to enjoy his millions in retirement."

This echoed a letter Warren signed onto earlier this month, in which a group of Democratic and Independent senators demanded the Justice Department, as part of its probe into the scandal, investigate whether Wells Fargo top brass should face criminal charges.

Not doing so, they warned, could reinforce "the notion that the wealthy and powerful have purchased a higher class of justice for themselves."

Indeed, as Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said Wednesday, Stumpf's forced retirement "is essentially an admission of wrongdoing that only reinforces the need to continue tough criminal investigations of the actions of Stumpf as well as other top executives."

Beyond that, Weissman declared: "Americans are beyond sick and tired of Big Banks and their executives escaping accountability. With Stumpf removed, attention will now turn to the U.S. Department of Justice to see if it will do its job. Of course, individual accountability is not enough: this too big to manage bank must be broken up."

Meanwhile, Dealbreaker reported Wednesday on how the appointment of Sloan to take Stumpf's place was not exactly reassuring.

According to his bio, Dealbreaker noted, Sloan has been at Wells Fargo longer than Stumpf and served as boss to Carrie Tolstedt, the former executive who ran the fraudulent program. Indeed, as Reuters reported, "he had oversight over Wells' retail division, where employees opened up to 2 million accounts without customers' knowledge, some of them during his tenure as COO."

"Promoting a guy that had arguably closer ties to the creation of at least 2 million unauthorized accounts, and then acting like it's a symbol of institutional change, is the kind of thing that makes Elizabeth Warren salivate with righteous rage," Thornton McEnery wrote at Dealbreaker.

"Wells Fargo's problems go from top to bottom," Khalid Taha, a former Wells Fargo personal banker who left the bank in July after suing them over sales pressures, similarly told Reuters. "Sloan is part of that problem. I can't see him as a solution."

California State Treasurer Sanctions Wells Fargo, Suspends Business Relationships
California is the nation's largest issuer of municipal bonds.

By Stephanie Chuang and Lisa Fernandez

California’s State Treasurer on Wednesday sanctioned Wells Fargo and ordered the suspension of business relationships between his office and the bank for one year after a scandal that has rocked the nation over the opening of two million fraudulent bank accounts. Stephanie Chuang reports. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016)
California’s State Treasurer on Wednesday sanctioned Wells Fargo and ordered the suspension of business relationships between his office and the bank for one year after a scandal that has rocked the nation over the opening of two million fraudulent bank accounts.
's move is unprecedented; he is the first state treasurer to issue such measures.

• Wells Fargo Fined $185M for Opening Millions of Unauthorized Accounts
In what he previewed would be a “big announcement,” Chiang, who is running for governor in 2018, spoke outside San Francisco City Hall, announcing his sanctions. They include suspending investments by the Treasurer's Office in all Wells Fargo securities, not using Wells Fargo as a broker-dealer for buying investments, and ceasing to employ Wells Fargo as a managing underwriter on negotiated sales of California state bonds where the treasurer appoints the underwriter.
"I have a duty as a leader in the financial marketplace to take action aimed at helping you understand that integrity and trust matter," Chiang wrote to Wells Fargo. "How can I continue to entrust the public's money to an organization which has shown such little regard for the legions of Californians who have placed their financial well-being in its care?
Chiang said the sanctions will take place immediately and remain in place for 12 months.
Venoo Kakar, an economics professor at San Francisco State University, said the state's message will resonate with all the big banks, especially if the monetary fines seem weak.
California is the nation's largest issuer of municipal bonds. Wells Fargo was the second-largest underwriter of municipal debt in California in the first half of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In a statement, Wells Fargo spokesman Ruben Pulido said: "We regret and take full responsibility for the incidents in which customers received a product they did not request, as that is consistent with the values and culture we strive to live up to every day."
Pulido added, "We are very sorry and take full responsibility for the incidents in our retail bank."
Chiang serves as the state's banker, overseeing nearly $2 trillion in annual banking transactions. He manages a $75 billion investment pool and is the nation’s largest issuer of municipal debt. He also sits on the governing board of the nation’s two largest public pension funds: the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.
The New York Times noted the move could cost Wells Fargo millions of dollars in banking fees because California is the largest issuer of municipal debt in the country.
The Times also pointed out that the move is symbolically hurtful for Wells Fargo, which has a large presence in California, particularly in San Francisco, where the bank's headquarters are on Montgomery Street.
Before Chiang made his announcement, Wells Fargo had already agreed to pay the national Consumer Financial Protection Bureau $185 million and the bank’s CEO, John Stumpf, also agreed to forfeit $41 million.
"We have already taken important steps," Pulido said in his statement. "And will continue to do so, to address these issues and rebuild your trust."
More locally, on Sept. 22, Wells Fargo shareholder William Sarsfield sued Wells Fargo in San Francisco County Superior Court.
The complaint alleges Wells Fargo's senior management allowed the bank to commit a major fraud on consumers, which "resulted in serious harm to the bank."
And last week, San Francisco removed Wells Fargo from a banking program for low-income residents, Bloomberg noted.
All the angst stems from an investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which found that Wells Fargo sales staff opened more than two million bank and credit card accounts that may have not been authorized by customers. Money in customers' accounts was transferred to these new accounts without authorization. Debit cards were issued and activated, as well as PINs created, without telling customers. In some cases, Wells Fargo employees even created fake email addresses to sign up customers for online banking services.
Of the $185 million settlement that the bank agreed to pay: Wells Fargo will pay $100 million to the CFPB; $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and $50 million to the City and County of Los Angeles. It will also pay restitution to affected customers.
In its statement, Wells Fargo added that the bank has donated $53 million to support schools and nonprofits in California in the last year alone.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Published at 5:50 AM PDT on Sep 28, 2016 | Updated at 5:30 AM PDT on Sep 29, 2016

Source: California State Treasurer Sanctions Wells Fargo, Suspends Business Relationships | NBC Bay Area
Follow us: @NBCBayArea on Twitter | NBCBayArea on Facebook
Added to the calendar on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 12:57PM
§Prosecute Wells Fargo's Bosses And Executive For Their Crimes
by United Public Workers For Action
Wells Fargo Top Executives and Board Of Directors encouraged and allowed the criminal coercion of workers to violate bank laws and fired 5,200 including many who refused to violate the law. The US Attorney General, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and local District Attorney's refuse to prosecute the criminals who engaged in massive bank corruption, criminal fraud and criminal coercion for ordering workers to engaged in criminal activity. Also San Francisco mayor Ed Lee, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Pension Board management continue to do business with the criminals running the bank.
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$55.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network