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Financial Institution Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud by or involving financial institutions. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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Catch of the Week – Wells Fargo Pays $3 Billion, and another $35 Million, in Latest in Long Line of Government Enforcement Actions against the Bank

Posted  02/28/20
wells-fargo-bank
On February 21, 2020 the Department of Justice announced that Wells Fargo & Co. agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve civil and criminal allegations that Wells Fargo’s “cross-selling” practices led to millions of accounts being opened for customers under false pretenses and without consent. These practices allegedly led to Wells Fargo collecting millions of dollars in fees. Less than one week later, two of...

February 27, 2020

Wells Fargo Clearing Services and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network will pay a $35 million penalty to resolve charges that certain of Wells Fargo's investment advisors and registered representatives made unsuitable recommendations to retail clients regarding single-inverse ETF products.  The SEC charged that Wells Fargo lacked policies and procedures that would have detected such unsuitable recommendations, and failed to adequately supervise and train its financial professionals, who did not fully understand the products they were recommending.  Wells Fargo did not admit or deny the SEC's findings; the penalty will be distributed to harmed individuals.  SEC

February 21, 2020

Wells Fargo & Co. will pay a total of $3 billion in a federal settlement resolving criminal, civil, and administrative liability with respect to its “cross-selling” sales practices between 2002 and 2016 that led to the opening of millions of checking, savings, credit card, and other accounts on behalf of individual customers under false pretenses or without the customers’ consent.  As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo admitted that it collected millions of dollars in fees and interest to which the Company was not entitled, harmed customer credit ratings, and unlawfully misused customers’ personal information.  Wells Fargo entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement requiring the bank to take certain compliance steps and cooperate with ongoing investigations.  Of the $3 billion settlement, $500 million resolves SEC claims that the bank, knowing about the underlying violations, mislead investors about the success of its business; the SEC settlement will be distributed to harmed investors.  The federal settlement is in addition to a $575 million 2018 settlement Wells Fargo entered into with 50 states and the District of Columbia and a $100 million 2016 fine from the CFPB arising from the same conduct.  DOJ; SEC; WD NC; CD Cal

Top Ten Federal Financial Fraud Recoveries of 2019

Posted  01/17/20
top ten in letters
The U.S. government has a range on enforcement options for financial and investment fraud, including those that provide for whistleblower rewards such as the SEC Whistleblower Program, the CFTC Whistleblower Program, and the IRS Whistleblower Program, each of which are very much open for business and continuing to pay millions of dollars in whistleblower awards in exchange for their assistance in exposing...

January 2, 2020

A private bank headquartered in Switzerland, Union Bancaire Privée, has agreed to pay an additional $14 million for its failure to comply in part with a 2016 non-prosecution agreement.  Between 2015 and 2016, DOJ had signed non-prosecution agreements with some 80 Swiss banks, imposing penalties of $1.36 billion in total for the banks' role in facilitating fraud.  As part of the agreements, the banks were required to disclose all U.S.-related accounts that it knew or should have known about upon signing, and had agreed to continue disclosing all material information related to U.S. accounts thereafter; however, UBP failed to do so.  DOJ

December 31, 2019

On the heels of a similar settlement in the State of Washington, CenturyLink has entered into a $4 million settlement with the State of Oregon and agreed to refund $672,000 to 8,212 Oregonians who were overcharged for telecommunication services.  Over a thousand customers had complained—and a subsequent investigation by the state DOJ found—that CenturyLink had a practice of failing to disclose all fees upfront, sending multiple bills each month for different amounts, and billing for modems prior to installation as well as for services after they were cancelled.  OR AG

December 16, 2019

A Goldman Sachs executive charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has been permanently banned from the securities industry and ordered to pay disgorgement of $43.7 million.  In order to secure lucrative business for Goldman Sachs, managing director Tim Leissner had allegedly directed a third party intermediary to bribe government officials in Malaysia and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  SEC

November 8, 2019

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. will pay $14.475 million -- a $10 million penalty, and $4.475 million in restitution -- to resolve CFTC charges related to the bank's actions in a single 2014 FX forward contract trade valued at approximately $4 billion.  The contract required Wells Fargo to calculate the price based on a weighted average spot rate on the relevant day.  However, Wells Fargo had no system in place to accurately determine such a rate, but rather that inform the counterparty of that fact, Wells Fargo simply picked a rate it believed was in the range and provided the counterparty with a false spreadsheet that purported to calculate the rate but that did not, in fact, reflect relevant trades.  CFTC

Legislation Watch: Proposed Amendments to Bank Secrecy Act Include Whistleblower Rewards

Posted  10/23/19
Currency in laundry machine
Currently in the 116th Congress, both the House and Senate are considering bills that would amend existing law to provide a whistleblower reporting system and meaningful financial rewards to whistleblowers who come forward to the federal government to report unlawful money laundering and other violations of specified banking laws. We have previously written on the important benefits that would be available with...

October 15, 2019

Fabio Bretas de Freitas and Phy Capital Investments LLC have been ordered to pay approximately $23 million in penalties, restitution, disgorgement, and interest, for their roles in $7 million Ponzi-like scheme.  To carry out the scheme, Bretas and Phy falsely represented that they had developed propriety software capable of netting a 49% profit on futures trading.  In addition to the monetary penalty, Bretas awaits sentencing in a related case out of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York; Bretas and Phy are also permanently banned from trading in CFTC-regulated markets.  CFTC
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