Apparently it was just that simple.
Aggressive — and certainly ambitious — employees at national bank Wells Fargo simply created various accounts out of the blue for customers, which earned those workers bonuses and incentives.
That strategy came with a problem, though, namely this: The odds aren’t exactly tilted in favor of a strategy that bilks millions of customers. At some point, someone’s going to find out.
The dimensions and sheer audacity of the bank fraud perpetrated on its very customers are rather astonishing to behold. As reported recently in USA TODAY, “thousands of bank employees” found the cracks in a company compensation scheme that enabled them to “game the system by secretly signing up existing clients for new services that were never requested.”
That meant things like new savings accounts and credit cards.
And the solution for funding those accounts?
Breathtakingly brazen and direct: Workers simply redirected money from other accounts held by defrauded customers, without their knowledge or permission.
That kind of large-scale fraud is eventually going to attract attention, and it hardly seems surprising in the aftermath that entities ranging from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to multiple state agencies took notice.
Additionally, the bank was sued for violating unfair competition laws.
Wells Fargo is going to pay much for its stunning internal irregularities. Understandably, of course, it must fully reimburse its customers. On top of that, it must cough up $100 million in fines to the CFPB, and additionally pay scores of millions to local government entities.
All told, the scheme will reportedly end up costing the bank about $185 million.