TRENTON, N.J. (CN) – Fired in the wake of Wells Fargo’s mortgage-kickback scandal, nine former staffers claim in court that the supervisors who instructed the illegal activity kept their jobs.
The lawsuit in Mercer County Superior Court comes just over two years after Wells Fargo paid $35.7 million to settle charges by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Regulators said that Wells Fargo’s loan officers were accepting cash and other kickbacks in exchange for referrals from General Title, a realty title insurance company that shuttered in 2014.
Led by Egg Harbor resident Jeffrey Bellak, nine former Wells Fargo home-mortgage consultants from that era say the kickback practices were standard operating procedure, and that Wells Fargo switched to a new title company in 2013.
“Having paid an enormous fine for its illicit ‘leads’ arrangement with Genuine Title, and having pledged as part of the settlement to desist, Wells simply discontinued its relations with Genuine and substituted Patriot Land Title,” the March 6 complaint states.
Bellak and the other fired officers say Wells Fargo chose them randomly as sacrificial lambs a few months after settling with the CFPB.
“In order to create for the CFPB the false appearance of having pursued a true internal investigation, resulting in the removal of all personnel responsible for the prior violations, [Wells Fargo] arbitrarily selected the plaintiffs for termination,” the lawsuit states.