Wells Fargo Executives May Face Criminal Charges, Reuters Says

Wells Fargo & Co. is facing a Justice Department probe that seeks to learn if executives hid details of a bogus account scandal from the board or regulators, according to Reuters.

The investigation may lead to criminal charges for individual executives, the news service reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it didn’t identify. The Justice Department was scheduled to interview bank examiners in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a federal grand jury in California has sent subpoenas to former employees, Reuters said.

Wells Fargo agreed in September to pay a $185 million fine over employees’ creation of more than 2 million checking and credit-card accounts without customer approval. Then-Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf was hauled in front of Congress, and chose to resign after the resulting uproar. Retail chief Carrie Tolstedt, who ran the division where the accounts were created, had retired earlier in 2016.

Jennifer Dunn, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based bank, declined to comment on the Justice Department investigation.

“Wells Fargo is committed to rebuilding trust by making things right, fixing the problems, and building a better bank,” Dunn said in an emailed statement. “We remain focused on providing the accountability and oversight that customers, team members, and investors expect and deserve.”

Abraham Simmons, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, and the Justice Department’s Nicole Navas declined to comment. Four attorneys who’ve filed lawsuits against Wells Fargo over the phony accounts scandal said they hadn’t heard of or been contacted by the Justice Department regarding the investigation.

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