Wells Fargo blackballed employees who refused to commit fraud, forcing them out of the industry forever

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/31/wells-fargo-blackballed-employ.html


I would hope something would be done about the list, but then I remember this is America and the banks are above the law.


Heard this today. The list - really a file kept on all bank employees reported by the bank - was concieved in an era when nobody would question an institution, and is without any recourse or appeal.

I hope the employee victims class action blow this up, and the whole thing is made illegal, or has mediation rules attached to it. Unbelievable that bad actors could wield a blunt instrument of life ruining in this day and age.


It’s long been my deeply-held suspicion that these same culture and practices pervade many industries, like the airlines and certain hotel chains.


considering the industry involved, anything would involve arbitration anyhow.

Arbitration! The new way to screw people over!


By the way, I have now successfully transferred my WF IRA over to Vanguard, and it felt good. I did see a “We’re Sorry” type of WF ad on television this weekend. It said that it would return money to those customers who were “impacted.” They should be shut down for that use of the word impact/impacted alone. Going of on a tangent here, it’s funny how seemingly every person I know despises “impact” as a verb, yet that use is general in this country. It’s like “effect” and “affect” have been expunged from the language.


Corporate Malfeasance: Getting Away with Bad Behavior is as American as Apple Pie

Am I surprised to hear Wells Fargo would blackball its employees from the industry for revealing corporate efforts to commit fraud? Absolutely not. It is a corporate tradition which spans the century. Ever since corporations has grown to the point they have become their own financial ecosystems, they have pretty much been immune to all forms of prosecution.

They mitigate it by maintaining lobbyists in the halls of government. The lobbying of powerful corporate interests have made it very difficult to hold corporations accountable for anything by keeping lawmakers in their debt through campaign donations and other forms of soft-core bribery through lobbying efforts. The amount of money organizations spend can be staggering.

Big Pharma, for instance, has spent $3.5 billion lobbying from 1998-2016 (OpenSecrets.org). Three billion dollars can buy a lot of goodwill, head turning and “legislation and policy crafting support” through affiliated think-tanks and policy houses in cooperation with such pharmaceutical companies.

Most large corporations and industries also maintain large legal firms to help them navigate lawsuits levied by other industry players, lawsuits from consumers or competitors. Keeping a list like Wells Fargo has been accused of: the U5, would not be a surprise to anyone who has worked for any time in corporate America.

Corporations have long memories and if you aren’t willing to toe the line, or worse, decide you want to report them for activities generally known but unspoken in public, they can and often assuredly mark you, making it impossible for you to work in large industries where the players all know each other and have been known to collaborate, even when they might appear as competitors to the general public.

Whistleblower laws are supposed to protect people who turn evidence against corporate malfeasance or alleged criminality but in recent years, whistleblowers are often punished more than the people they blow the whistle on because the corporations, using their legal clout and financial capacities, settle out of court denying any wrong-doing. The whistle-blower on the other hand loses their livelihood, their option to work in their industry unless a player chooses to overlook their transgression.

Big corporations aren’t the only offenders either. Big Government has been know to be particularly vindictive to whistle-blowers who reveal how much money is often spent on government projects dubbed “pork”, failures in processes which violate civil rights or in the case of the NSA the privacy rights of American citizens. Everyone knows who Edward Snowden was, but before Snowden there were other whistleblowers to tried to go through channels and they were far less successful for their efforts.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same NSA activities 10 years before Snowden did. Drake was a much higher-ranking NSA official than Snowden, and he obeyed US whistleblower laws, raising his concerns through official channels. And he got crushed. Drake was fired, arrested at dawn by gun-wielding FBI agents, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, and all but ruined financially and professionally. The only job he could find afterwards was working in an Apple store in suburban Washington, where he remains today. Adding insult to injury, his warnings about the dangers of the NSA’s surveillance programme were largely ignored.
The Guardian - How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers

In the modern era with all of the talk of transparency in government and big business, the price of revealing something which should be in the public eye but not, can be very high. You can find yourself going to jail, losing your livelihood, and unable to find work in your field of expertise, possibly for the rest of your life. Not to mention how many whistle-blowers happen to die in accidents, suicides or other such unfortunate and sometimes mysterious circumstances. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can assuredly rent retribution at an unofficial level, of course.

Such responses as the U5 or the draconian alpha-strike of the Pentagon on whistle-blowers chills the enthusiasm of anyone to take what shouldn’t be a risk at all. Reporting wrong-doing, fraud, theft, malfeasance of any kind, particularly when it puts people’s economic welfare, their health, their privacy or even their lives should be a high enough priority that a whistle-blowers efforts should be recognized as a highly desired public good.

Unfortunately, like so many things associated with wealth, it is still possible in a country with laws and comparatively speaking, a low level of corruption compared to places in the developing world, to still find the legal system significantly powerful to protect people clearly involved in what should be construed as criminal activity.

Corporations and their executives use their wealth as a shield allowing them to go unpunished, their activities unrecognized and the issue revealed may be corrected by no one will be held accountable. As with so many things, the only the person shedding the light, will end up paying the price for their urge to help their fellow man.


They are everywhere, America just leads the pack in selling its citizens up the river.

What’s even more disgusting about this is that even if this blacklist gets real publicity, its names will just be transferred over to a new one to replace it and the finance industry will continue with its organized and government-protected crime. A cop taking bribes is called dirty. A politician taking bribes is called electable.

The only way this ever gets any better is if the banks that get caught red handed like Wells Fargo did are punished more than the money they stole, until the rest decide it’s no longer profitable. But that won’t happen with bought and paid for politicians, and as long as party campaign coffers are open for business, politicians will always be bought an paid for by crooks.


What effect does impact have on your affect?


U5, is not a secret. It’s filed with FINRA. It’s the standard form used when an employee is terminated in the finance industry. Just like a U4 is standard for an employee’s current license & employment history…

Wells Embargo


reminds me https://bbs.boingboing.net/t/cop-fired-and-denied-severance-for-not-shooting-suicidal-man-holding-an-unloaded-gun/85355/8?u=rasmussen_bryan

1 Like

So assuming all these allegations are true (and there’s no reason to believe they aren’t), just how many strikes does Wells Fargo get before serious shit starts happening to them?

How many dollars is WF worth? Because that’s your answer.


Why aren’t you around more? :wink:

This is an excellent analysis of the heart of the problem.


Thank you for your kind words. I write in lots of other forums online. (Quora, Medium, Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange) BBS was not one of them until a friend asked me to answer a question here. I have been experimenting to see if this is a forum I would like to write more in. If you are interested in reading my other work you can find samples here: https://ebonstorm.contently.com/


I don’t think any associates who had them have canceled their accounts, either.


How many do they want?

I’ll check your work out! I see lots of stuff on sci-fi/fantasy fandom, which is a field I’m interested in looking at once I’m done with my dissertation.



Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter

Looks like good stuff.