Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Unauthorized Wells Fargo Bank Accounts Significantly Larger Than Initially Reported

Number of Unauthorized Wells Fargo Bank Accounts Significantly Larger Than Initially Reported

Court documents included as part of an imminent class action settlement with Wells Fargo Bank indicate that the banking giant created 1.4 million more phony bank and credit card accounts than it had previously reported. As Law360 notes, “The San Francisco-based bank and a class of account holders estimate that between 2002 and 2017 Wells Fargo employees allegedly opened approximately 3.5 million unauthorized accounts, replacing the previous 2.1 million estimate.”

The court filing notes that while the new figure could reflect some overestimation, given that the previous examination of the bank’s misconduct only went as far back as 2011, the vast increase in fraudulent account numbers is seen as reasonable given the much longer time period now involved.

In March 2017, Wells Fargo agreed to settle the class action lawsuits for $110 million. “That deal would have provided payouts to customers who had unauthorized accounts opened for them as early as 2009. But last month, after Wells Fargo’s internal investigation reported problems dating back to 2002, the bank agreed to extend the deal back to that point and increase the settlement amount to $142 million,” as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

“We need to keep Wells Fargo’s feet to the fire,” stated Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “We don’t know everything yet. It’s like peeling open an onion – the depths of the Wells Fargo corruption and its abuse of its customers and front-line workers.”

The case in which the settlement was reached is Jabbari et. al. v. Wells Fargo & Co. et al., case number 3:15-cv-02159, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The hearing for the preliminary settlement approval will be held on May 18th in San Francisco.

About Lieff Cabraser and Consumer Protection

False advertising, bait and switch marketing, phony disclosure of manipulative bookkeeping devices, unconscionable pricing, and charging for services never provided are some of the many unfair and deceptive practices rogue corporations use to defraud consumers.

Lieff Cabraser advises consumers as well as businesses whether and how to pursue legal action to halt and obtain compensation for the deceptive practices of large corporations. With a blend of courage, superior legal skills, and high principles, we protect our clients’ interests and help them achieve their goals by winning highly-complex consumer protection lawsuits against those that have defrauded consumers.

We have successfully prosecuted scores of consumer class action lawsuits against many of the largest U.S. banks, financial service companies, and corporations. Working with co-counsel, we have achieved judgments and settlements in excess of $3 billion for consumers in these cases, including over $200 million in lawsuits over abusive and harassing robocalls and text messages brought under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.