Senators Urge DOJ to Focus on Wells Fargo Executives in Probe

  • U.S. must meet promise to investigate individuals: letter
  • Democrats cite Stumpf testimony over fraudulent accounts

Wells Fargo & Co.’s senior executives should be investigated by U.S. prosecutors over the bank’s unauthorized creation of customer accounts, Democrats in the U.S. Senate told Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf’s congressional testimony last week raises questions about whether he and other bank executives knowingly allowed illegal conduct to continue even after learning about the fraudulent accounts in 2013, according to a letter from the senators made public on Wednesday.

“Every time the Department of Justice settles a case of corporate fraud without holding individuals accountable, it reinforces the notion that the wealthy and powerful have purchased a higher class of justice for themselves,” the senators wrote. “That’s why the Wells Fargo investigation is so important.”

The senators called on the Justice Department to follow through on a policy unveiled last year that required corporate investigations to focus on individual employees after years of criticism that top executives weren’t prosecuted after the financial crisis. The senators who signed the letter included Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Al Franken of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

The U.S. attorneys in New York and San Francisco opened criminal investigations after Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million for opening potentially more than 2 million unauthorized accounts to meet sales goals.

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