According to a settlement that was signed with a wholly owned subsidiary, Signet Jewelers Ltd. is to pay federal and state regulators penalties of $11 million for allegedly opening fake store card accounts. Sterling Jewelers, a subsidiary that operates over 1,500 locations across the country with different brands, signed the settlement, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“While we disagree with the allegations made against Sterling, we chose to negotiate a resolution of this matter to avoid the time, expense and uncertainty of litigation with the agencies,” a spokesperson for Signet said, according to the paper. “We have used this opportunity to internally reaffirm the transparency and fairness of our credit-related policies, and we look forward to continuing to provide our customers with access to suitable credit options.”
In some instances, sales representatives allegedly convinced shoppers to divulge personal information by having them sign up for a “rewards card,” mailing list or loyalty offering. Regulators claim that representatives then used shoppers’ personal information to make an application for credit, which could have a negative impact on credit scores.
The news comes as it was reported last month that Wells Fargo revealed it is firing around three dozen district managers due to the retail banking scandal that occurred over two years prior. Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, The Wall Street Journal reported that senior-level executives had briefed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) about the firings. At the time, representatives from Wells Fargo and the OCC declined to talk about the report.
The firings are the result of a scandal that began in 2016, when investigations uncovered that employees opened about 2.1 million fake accounts, which were often created without the consent or knowledge of customers, as they sought to meet sales targets. And it was previously reported that an investigation discovered another 1.4 million fake accounts.