banking

Latest Wells Fargo Scandal Demonstrates Devilish Debit Card Deceit

The consolidation of American banks has been an incredible burden on We The People, with scandals and scams emanating from the highest levels of the global financial cartel in recent years.

First and foremost, Americans were on the hook for a massive bank bailout in 2008 that saw the U.S. government interfere with failing financial institutions to the tune of around $700 billion; roughly the GDP of The Netherlands, or the entire economic output of the state of Florida.  This equated, at the time, to roughly $2,300 per American – a figure that is absolutely appalling both in its sheer size and in the implications that this theft would have for a great many of America’s families.

Even after that ill-advised and possibly illegal bailout, these banks continued to work to undermine the American Dream in ways that few of us would have dared to imagine.  After receiving this illicit gift from their customers, the U.S. taxpayers, some banks refused to amend their trifling ways, with Wells Fargo being one of the most egregious offenders.  While nearly every other bank in the U.S. ponied up the cash to settle class action lawsuits over the illegal reordering of debit card purchases to aggravate overdraft fee frequency, Wells Fargo was busy creating 2 million plus fraudulent accounts using real people’s information in order to achieve their own sales goals.

Now, as pressure mounts for Wells Fargo to fall in line over their own overdraft malfeasance, these banking criminals are fighting tooth and nail to continue their deceitful ways.

“Reordering has been ruled deceitful in federal court. Starting around 2008, consumers filed national class-action lawsuits against more than 30 different banks over these bogus overdraft fees. The cases got consolidated in 2009, in the Miami federal courtroom of US district court Judge James King. Most banks eventually settled with the plaintiffs: Bank of America agreed to pay $410 million in 2011; JPMorgan Chase promised $162 million in 2013. To date, banks have shelled out $1.1 billion in restitution for overdraft abuses.

 “Wells Fargo was the only one to keep fighting.

“The bank knew it could be liable for a big payout. In 2010, a California judge ordered it to pay $203 million to customers in that state alone over deceptive overdraft practices. Wells fought that all the way to the US Supreme Court but lost last spring; they finally starting paying Californians in 2016.

“A national class-action suit was supposed to compensate Wells Fargo customers in the other 49 states, but a 2011 US Supreme Court ruling offered the bank a potential reprieve. In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, a 5-4 decision effectively said companies could use arbitration agreements to ban class-action lawsuits. ‘Before that, it was assumed that consumers had a right to join a class action,’ said Amanda Werner, campaign manager with the consumer groups Americans for Financial Reform and Public Citizen.

“Literally two days after the Concepcion ruling was released, Wells Fargo filed to dismiss the overdraft case in favor of arbitration. But Wells had a problem: In both 2009 and 2010, Judge King explicitly asked banks if they wanted to file a motion to move to arbitration, and Wells Fargo declined, apparently preferring to try to win the case. Wells told the court then it ‘did not move for an order compelling arbitration… nor does it intend to seek arbitration of their claims in the future.’ For two years, company lawyers took depositions and filed motions and did everything a litigant would do. Then, after receiving more favorable precedent from the Supreme Court on arbitration, Wells Fargo changed course. “

Wells Fargo even attempted to sweep the entire overdraft deceit under the rug during their legal proceedings regarding the fraudulent accounts case.

The bank attempted to amend one sentence of their settlement statement to broadly include the debit card overdraft scam.  This was quickly struck down by the courts after lawyers representing Wells Fargo customers discovered the nonsense and called attention to it.

Now, as Wells Fargo continues to roll in the dough, Americans are pinching pennies.  Next month, the bank will be back in court where it could be decided if their customers will be allowed to band together and sue the company in a class action manner.

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