By now, you might reasonably have heard a thing or two regarding the recent jaw-dropping story featuring national banking giant Wells Fargo and its employed business tactics aimed at fleecing bank customers.
In fact, you might well be a Wells Fargo customer. Millions of people are, of course, and the bank is headquartered in California.
Truth be told, it would hardly be surprising for a select portion of our readers to be among those who were victimized by the massive customer fraud engaged in by thousands of bank employees. Reportedly, thousands of bank agents were involved in legal wrongdoing.
How extensive was the fraud?
Consider the information passed along last week in a CNN Money report, which pointed to “more than two million bogus accounts revealed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
We reference and underscore the material dimensions of fraud on our consumer protection website at The Law Offices of Stephen B. Morris in San Diego. We note therein that “the list of retail companies found guilty of overcharging customers in recent years is long and winding” and that fraudulent corporate practices “have become all too common in California.”
It is one thing for corporate rip-offs to unfold from shady behavior and practices that occur in businesses like health clubs, cable television providers, insurance companies and grocery store chains.
It is an altogether different thing when the author of deceit is your own bank, an institution in which you have justifiably placed your trust and that has a fiduciary’s duty of good-faith conduct that serves your best interests.
Setting up bogus accounts and charging customers for them in millions of instances are not the actions of a partner you can trust.
Wells Fargo will pay at least $185 million in fines and penalties in the wake of its massive fraud. The bank has fired more than 5,000 employees.
The matter is stunning and sad, of course, but it is far from being a singular occurrence in the annals of corporate fraud in the United States.
Indeed, it serves as a clarion call for consumers, underscoring the need for them to remain ever vigilant in their dealings with corporate actors and to take purposeful legal action when they reasonably believe themselves to be victims of fraud.