WASHINGTON – The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a top US banking regulator, began its civil trial on Monday against three former Wells Fargo & Co executives over their alleged role in a scam involving fake accounts in San Francisco. lender.
Proceedings before an in-house OCC judge in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, mark a rare public confrontation between the regulator and former top bank executives who are partly to blame for Wells Fargo’s misconduct.
The OCC alleges that Claudia Russ Anderson, former Wells Fargo Risk Officer, former Chief Auditor David Julian and former Executive Audit Director Paul McLinco, from 2002 to 2016 contributed to Wells Fargo’s “misconduct of systemic sales practices” through their duties and Failed to perform responsibilities adequately.
The regulator brought civil charges against all three, as well as other former Wells Fargo executives, last year, and demanded that they pay a combined about $19 million to settle the case. It is also seeking to ban Russell Anderson from the banking industry as a whole on allegations of law and regulation violations.
Wells Fargo’s long-running scandal over the pressurized sales culture has cost the bank billions of dollars in civil and criminal penalties for employees opening millions of unauthorized or fraudulent customer accounts, and badly damaged its reputation.
“The record shows that sales practice misconduct was widespread and pervasive from at least 2013-2016,” Administrative Law Judge Christopher McNeill said in opening remarks detailing the allegations against each of the former executives.
Russ Anderson, Julian and McLinco are fighting the charges. Lawyers for all three did not respond to requests for comment, but a lawyer representing Julian hinted at a possible defense strategy, alleging potential bias in the initial motions and issues of credibility of government examiners.
A Wells Fargo spokesperson declined to comment beyond a January 2020 statement in which CEO and President Charlie Scharf said the OCC’s action was consistent with holding the firm and individuals accountable for issues of “unforgivable” sales practices.
“This hearing represents the culmination of the OCC’s long-standing efforts to hold these individuals accountable for risk management and consumer harm,” the OCC said in a statement Friday, which predicts the trial will last at least two weeks. Is.
by Jodie Godoy and Chris Prentiss
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times