The lawsuits against Wells Fargo due to the fake account scandal have widened to include more higher-ups in the bank.
According to a report by Bloomberg, a lawsuit is going after an area president who told employees to open fake accounts to raise sales. The area president allegedly told employees to “do whatever it takes” to meet the sales goals and stay employed, reported Bloomberg, citing the lawsuit, which was brought by former branch managers.
Two named in the lawsuit, Lefky Mansi, an area president in the Los Angeles region, and Shabnam Ebrahimi, a district manager, allegedly told employees their careers were at risk after they complained to federal agencies, as well as the human resources department, about the managers telling them to open fake accounts. The lawsuit was brought by former branch managers, noted Bloomberg. In a statement to Bloomberg, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Bridgette Braxton said the bank is continuing to “address behaviors inconsistent with our vision and values. We strive to foster a supportive and engaging work environment for team members and to create deep and enduring relationships with our customers by discovering their needs and delivering the most relevant products, services and guidance.” The spokeswoman declined to comment about the lawsuit but did say Mansi is no longer an employee of Wells Fargo, while Ebrahimi, who reported to Mansi, is a district manager.
Bloomberg noted the move to lodge lawsuits against Mansi and Ebrahimi shows that people who are suing are going after higher-ups within Wells Fargo outside of the close to 500 low-level managers fired in the wake of the scandal.
Earlier this fall, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Wells Fargo $185 million, the largest fine levied from the government agency. It also ordered Wells Fargo to refund $5 million in fees that the bank wrongly charged customers. According to an investigation by the CFPB, Wells Fargo employees not only made fake deposit accounts but also submitted 565,443 unauthorized credit card account applications on behalf of unknowing customers. It’s estimated that 14,000 of those accounts accrued $403,145 in fees. Through its own independent investigation, the bank discovered a total of $2.6 million in unauthorized fees. Since then, the company’s CEO, John Stumpf, was forced to step down.