Wells Fargo has come under investigation by The California Department of Justice on allegations of criminal identity theft over its creation of millions of unauthorized accounts. This was learned from a search warrant issued to the bank’s San Francisco headquarters this month. The warrant was obtained by the New York Times and it included demands that the bank turn over a documents, including the identities of California customers who had unauthorized accounts opened in their names, information about fees related to those accounts, the names of the Wells Fargo employees who opened the accounts, the names of those employees’ managers and emails or other communication related to those accounts. Documents filed along with the search warrant argue that there is probable cause to believe Wells Fargo violated two sections of the state penal code concerning types of impersonation, the other outlawing the unauthorized use of personal information. Both violations can be charged as felonies, punishable by imprisonment for more than a year.
Along with investigations by Harris’ office and federal prosecutors, Wells Fargo is also under investigation by the federal Department of Labor, an outside law firm hired by the bank’s board and two congressional committees.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers