Wells Fargo Troubles Deepen As It Faces ID Theft Probe, Racial Profiling Accusations

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Oct 20, 2016
Wells Fargo

Just because its CEO stepped down doesn't mean Wells Fargo's problems are going away. Indeed, it appears that authorities are just getting started. Authorities in California, are alleging that the bank racially profiled immigrants for its phantom accounts, according to Bloomberg, and that it engaged in criminal identity theft in creating these accounts, according to CNN Money

The racial profiling accusation was leveled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, who said that the bank singled out Latino immigrants, particularly those without Social Security numbers or those with limited English skills, for the creation of sham accounts that workers created without customer knowledge or consent. The accusation came after the U.S. Attorney's Office conducted a 16-month investigation into the bank, which concluded that many of the scam's victims were recent immigrants. Wells Fargo has denied that it targeted any particular group, and Bloomberg noted that it might have been a quirk of geography, given how many Latino immigrants there are in California in general. 

This isn't the only problem that has cropped up since the CEO's departure, though. The California attorney general is also investigating whether, through the creation of the sham accounts, the bank committed criminal identity theft. It alleges that the bank used unlawfully obtained information to open the accounts, and said this was a systemic problem within Wells Fargo. 

Other ongoing investigations include a federal Department of Justice investigation and a federal Department of Labor investigation over claims it retaliated against whistleblowers. 

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