by Dave Kranzler, Investment Research Dynamics:
I would have thought that after all of the fraudulent, illegal and unethical business activity for which Wells Fargo has endured, a situation placed in their lap by a concerned citizen would have received immediate attention. What’s most appalling about the story below is the haughty indifference with which this potentially criminal complaint was treated by Wells Fargo employees. While Wells has received some heavy wrist-slapping for getting caught with its pants down, its seems based on the bloated compensation awarded to the CEO and the fact that, based on the true accounting below, Wells doesn’t seem to mind continuing to operate with its pants and underwear draped like a pedophile around its ankles. Mike – aka Silver Farmer (@nhsilverfarm) – has written a stunning report of his attempt alert Wells Fargo of a potentially criminal fraud situation involving Wells Fargo checking accounts – one that may involve fraudulent bank accounts opened by Wells employees:
I’m Mike and up until now, I’ve remained behind the scenes as an audio editor and producer for some of the more popular liberty minded programs out there today. I want to share this story of fraud that centers on habitual offender, Wells Fargo. In life, I have only my credibility and am more than willing to provide the emails that confirm everything I am about to relay.
After nearly 15 years, my wife and family are leaving the house we built. The property taxes having tripled in that time. We are intentionally downsizing, and have a number of valuable items to sell. I started posting ads for these items on Craigslist just over a week ago. There were a handful of items over $300 in value and for every one posed, I got several offers to accept payment by check from out of state and then ship the items to a buyer. I might live in the sticks of rural New Hampshire, but I had heard of these scams, so I decided to play along with a few.
The first was pretty low brow. I had to check my spam folder fro an email from “PayPal” saying that $1000 would be released to me if I sent a Western Union Money Gram to a woman named Deborah in Oklahoma. She was, you see, the mover that was going to pickup my air conditioner. Before I tipped my hand that knew that this was a scam, I contacted the police in my town, the town where the money was to be sent and the FBI.
The next two scammers asked for my address to send a physical check to. This sounded more interesting. I figured, what the hell, I will give them my address, I’m moving and it is public record anyway. Both had similar stories. The check I was to receive was “accidentally” made out for more than my item for sale because the assistant made a mistake and added my price AND the cost of having the item shipped into one check.
So 3 and 4 days later, respectively, I had priority mail envelopes in my mailbox, each containing a check, printed on real check stock with watermarks and other security features, from businesses far away from the return address on the envelope. I did a quick internet search, and found the phone numbers of these very real businesses. One was an oral surgeon in Texas, the other an equipment company in New York. I called each of these companies and was informed that these were, in fact, counterfeit checks.
I played along with the scammers, telling them that I had deposited their checks. At this point, one dropped out from communication, so I was down to one. In the mean time, I contacted the FBI and the postal inspector, both of which referred me to an online complaint form, which I filled out and heard nothing back from.
I told the last remaining scammer on Monday that his check had cleared. He immediately emailed me with the account information of the “mover” so I could wire the excess funds there.
And what account did he send me? Why a Wells Fargo Business account.
I called Wells Fargo and they confirmed it was an active account. I then dropped the bomb. I told them the above story and…literally crickets. The woman on the phone expressed no interest at all that one of their accounts was being used to receive funds from check fraud. I got irritated and a bit rude, and told the Wells employee that I didn’t think that Wells Fargo needed any more black eyes, and if she would not take me seriously, I was going to the media. She then forwarded me to Tim in Minneapolis. After a long hold, I explained the story to Tim. I offered to send a picture of the check and all the emails (Which I am happy to provide to anyone on request). He was not interested and then after about 5 min, he disconnected, without warning. I tried for another half hour to get back to him or find anyone who wanted the information I had. Nobody at Wells Fargo cared. No word of a lie. No concern at all. They didn’t even want my phone number.
When W Bush helped ram thru the Patriot act, part of that was that positive ID MUST be established to open a bank account. If this is the case, the owner of this Wells Fargo account should be easy to find. So why are they not interested?