Yesenia Jesse Guitron, a Wells Fargo employee in Napa County California who began working for Wells Fargo in 2008 complained to the company when she noticed some of her co-workers were offering to open free accounts which were actually premium accounts with heavy fees. She says she repeatedly complained to the company several times over the years about this but nothing was done. Thousands of customers were improperly charged, many became overdrawn and some had their credit wrecked. Guitron was fired in 2010, without warning. Guitron filed a lawsuit claiming Wells Fargo fired her for speaking out against the fraudulent practices she witnessed.
After leaving Wells Fargo, Guitron made her allegations public in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. But a federal judge ruled against her in 2012, saying that even unreasonable sales goals were not illegal because they did not target Guitron and applied equally to all employees. Guitron will receive no whistleblower reward.
Wells Fargo has faced hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, Stumpf resigned as CEO, and the Federal Reserve last month forbade the bank to grow its assets further until it improves internal oversight – meaning any new assets such as loan balances must be offset by cuts elsewhere. A lawsuit by Wells Fargo shareholders reportedly alleges the company misled them about the rash of bogus accounts, contributing to falling stock prices once the scandal broke.