Several former Wells Fargo executives are under criminal investigation due to the bank’s fake-accounts scandal, according to a report in American Banker late Friday, which says they may be indicted as early as this month.
While earlier federal investigations focused on lower-level staff members, ex-members of Wells Fargo’s top levels are currently the target, sources familiar with the situation told the publication.
The news comes more than three years after the bank agreed to pay a fine and $185 million settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Los Angeles City Attorney’s over 2 million-plus client accounts and credit cards that were potentially unauthorized.
Organizations involved in the criminal investigation include the Department of Justice, OCC and Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the report, which added that the matter “remains fluid and is subject to change.”
(The OCC, SEC and Wells Fargo declined to comment on the situation on Friday, according to the American Banker report; the bank also did so on Saturday, when contacted by ThinkAdvisor.)
In a 2017 report about the matter, PricewaterhouseCoopers concluded that Wells Fargo’s retail banking unit in Los Angeles and Orange County had the greatest number of “potential simulated funding accounts per employee” nationwide. Also, close to 5,400 employees were fired for sales-related violations from early 2011 to early 2016.
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