Tag Archives: whistleblowers

Wells Fargo fired whistleblower for complaints about incentives to mislead: lawsuit

The former head of beleaguered San Francisco-based bank Wells Fargo’s foreign exchange group claims he was fired weeks before he was to tell federal regulators about incentives that encouraged employees to “make false and misleading representations to customers, to engage in abusive sales practices, and to enrich themselves at the expense of clients.”

That’s according to the legal firm representing him in a lawsuit filed Thursday in San Francisco County Superior Court.

Wells Fargo declined to comment.

Simon Fowles alleges that he was terminated after years of making complaints to his managers and high-level executives about goings-on in the foreign exchange sales department. He had told bank management he planned to tell the U.S. Office of Controller of the Currency about the incentives, and was sacked “just weeks before” he was scheduled to talk to the regulators, his law firm said.

Fowles claims he had warned management of “significant risks of illegal activity, mail and wire fraud, unlawful profiteering, and regulatory violations he believed would result from the compensation plan used by Wells Fargo to compensate members of the FX (foreign exchange) sales team,” according to the San Francisco law firm of attorney Daniel Feder.

Read on.

DOJ opposes Wells Fargo on whistle-blower suit

The U.S. Justice Department filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Tuesday in a lawsuit brought against Wells Fargo & Co by two former employees, who were fired after they reported misdemeanors they had noticed to their supervisors.

The DOJ’s filing concluded that the appellate court, which had earlier dismissed the case, should revisit and modify its analysis.

The plaintiffs, Paul Bishop and Robert Kraus, had said the Wall Street bank had requested Federal Reserve loans on various occasions when it was in violation of certain banking regulations, in a complaint filed in 2011.

The suit, which was filed under the False Claims Act, is designed to encourage people to bring to light evidence of fraud against the government.

Read on.

Barclays CEO Is Probed Over Bid to Unmask Whistleblower

LONDON — Barclays PLC Chief Executive Jes Staley is under investigation by U.K. and U.S. regulators after he tried to unmask a whistleblower who criticized his hiring of a longtime associate for a top job.

The London bank said Monday it had also launched its own investigation into the matter.

Authorities are probing Mr. Staley’s actions in trying to identify the source of an anonymous letter that criticized the hiring of Tim Main, who was named in 2016 as head of the financial institutions group at Barclays, according to people with knowledge of the events. The letter also raised questions about Mr. Staley’s dealings with him when they worked together at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

The U.K.’s Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority are probing both Mr. Staley and the bank over its treatment of whistleblowers Barclays said in a statement. The bank added that it had issued a formal reprimand to Mr. Staley and would make a “significant” cut to his bonus. It is also conducting its own review into Barclays’s controls.

Read on.

Whistleblowers Can Pose Real Challenge to Trump

NEP’s Bill Black and Norman Soloman join TRNN’s live inauguration coverage to discuss the criminogenic environment that will thrive under the Trump administration as well as its unprecedented conflicts of interest.

Dozens of Wells Fargo Employees Filed Whistleblower Complaints with Feds, New Data Shows

Dozens of Wells Fargo employees filed whistleblower complaints with the federal government, alleging the company retaliated against them for raising red flags about corporate and consumer financial fraud, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has learned.

The new data, provided by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), reveals that as early as 2010, both Wells Fargo and the government knew about widespread concerns involving the nation’s third largest bank. The numbers were released earlier this month in response to an inquiry by the Investigate Unit.

OSHA’s “preliminary analysis” shows the administration received 65 retaliation complaints across the country from 2010 to September of this year. Wells Fargo complainants sent their cases to the administration’s Whistleblower Protection Program, which is tasked with enforcing various whistleblower laws.

This information has come to light as another former investigator revealed what she believes are flaws in the program designed to protect employees from retaliation. Last month, a former longtime whistleblower investigator detailed how he believes his office mishandled the case of a Bay Area Wells Fargo employee.

Read on.

There Aren’t Any Hallmark Cards for Whistleblowers… Yet!

Well National Whistleblower Appreciation Day came and went July 30th, without much fanfare or appreciation from most.
Still, the fact that there is such a designated day is a step in the right direction. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore), and their bipartisan  Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus led the charge  and the U.S. Senate passed the resolution on July 7th, “to honor whistleblowers for the critical role they play in protecting the country against fraud and misconduct.”
Interestingly, July 30th was chosen because on that date in 1778, the first whistleblower law was “inked.”

Can a Future Financial Crisis Be Prevented?

The fifth of a sixth part McCuistion TV program series aired recently. The series, a collaboration with the National Center for Policy Analysis Financial Crisis Summit, featured two of my Bank Whistleblowers United colleagues, William K. Black, Michael Winston and me.

Are Regulations Killing Our Economy?

The fourth of a six part series airing on the McCuistion Television Program, which has been focused on the 2008 financial crisis, “Have Dodd- Frank and Other Regulations Been Effective?” (watch it here), featured my  Bank Whistleblowers United colleague, William K. Black.
William, a white collar criminologist and former financial regulator as well as the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, was joined by: George A. Selgin, PhD: Director of the Cato Institutes’ Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Georgia and C.K. Lee, a former bank regulator, now Managing Director,  Investment Banking, Commerce Street Capital. Jeb Hensarling (R- TX):Chair of the House Financial Services Committee gave his views via a prior taped interview.
The diverse comments were unanimously not in agreement. Yet each one believes to some extent that regulations and the way they are enforced have set up a tyranny in our financial system which favors the big banks at the expense of community banks which are crippled with the cost of regulations. As Representative Hensarling emphasized, Dodd-Frank and other regulations are imposing huge costs on banking because of their complexity and volume.

What Really Caused the 2008 Financial Crisis?

In a recent post, I mentioned the McCuistion Television Program, six part series on the financial crisis that I and several of our Bank Whistleblowers United team, (Michael Winston, William Black and I), participated in.
Michael and I, along with Rashad Abdel-Khalik, PhD:  Professor of International Accounting at the University of Illinois and  C.R. “Rusty” Cloutier: MidSouth Bancorp, Inc, Founding President and CEO, joined host Dennis McCuistion in the third in the series which justrecently aired, part two, of “What Really Caused the 2008 Financial Crisis?”
Our fellow panelists had diverse experiences and viewpoints. However we were in agreement on several key points including that the crisis was caused by more than just lowered underwriting standards. In fact, while that was a contributor, it was also a convenient excuse. The seven largest banks involved, the Too Big To Fail, committed fraud, and walked away. 
Michael addressed the lack of accountability in a reference to the “balance of consequences” – people do what they are rewarded for, not what they are punished for. He asked, “But what if the incentive system rewards you for doing the wrong thing and punishes you for doing the right thing?” And that’s what happened.

Whistleblowers: Who They Are and Why You Should Care

The award-winning McCuistion Television Program, now in its 26th year on KERA, PBS TV, andThe National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization with a goal of developing and promoting private, free-market alternatives to government regulation and control, teamed up this spring for a six part series on the financial crisis.
Our Bank Whistleblowers United team, Michael Winston, Bill Black, Gary Aguirre and I were invited to be featured on the McCuistion segment on whistleblowers, to discuss why whistleblowers feel compelled to expose the wrongdoing we see in our organizations. Unfortunately, our fourth co-founder, Gary Aguirre, the SEC whistleblower, was not able to join us.
The host, Dennis McCuistion, gave each one of us the opportunity to tell of our personal experience. Unfortunately as each one of us can personally attest to, while the public value of whistle-blowing has been increasingly recognized, even encouraged by the Department of Justice, the reality is very different. Whistleblowers are often retaliated against – losing their job, incurring financial hardships and even being blackballed from working in their professions ever again.