Former Wells Fargo Executive Avoids Prison in Sham Accounts Scandal

Who would have suspected that for years the highly revered Wells Fargo, was actually systematically & egregiously screwing its clients, in particular its eldest clients! Unbelievable! Couldn’t be! But alas…yes, true! What’s more at the center of it, was management including long-time employee Carrie L. Tolstedt.

Now after $billions in fines for Wells Fargo, $millions for Carrie & numerous terminated CEO’s, plus intense continued scrutiny by the Federal Reserve, the final judgement has been rendered. While it doesn’t include jail time, the ass-kicking taken by company and executives seems appropriate to the crime.

In his day it should be noted, the Buddha would opine that a single act of stupidity did not necessarily predict a ruinous result for the perpetrator. But he would add that if the stupidity was to become chronic, the resulting Karma would attach to that person or entity and attract exactly the appropriate corrective action in precisely the right measure.

I’d guess that the individuals responsible including Ms. Tolstedt, would likely get chills of regret about never having learned that the words “What Goes Around Comes Around,” are actually an unavoidable “Law of Physics!” I can only wish they’d read my book!

Question: Did you know that was the case?

Find Rob’s book & ebook “What Goes Around Comes Around – A Guide To How Life REALLY Works” at  Amazon or Audible
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Kirkus Reviews says:
A stable, nonpreachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes of real human experiences to reveal powerful truths about life.

Former Wells Fargo Executive Avoids Prison in Sham Accounts Scandal

Prosecutors had sought a year of incarceration, which they said would be a deterrent to other corporate executives.

A former top Wells Fargo executive avoided prison time for her role in the bank’s sham accounts scandal, after a federal judge on Friday instead sentenced her to six months of home confinement and three years of probation. She was also ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and perform 120 hours of community service.

The former executive, Carrie L. Tolstedt, who was head of retail banking at Wells Fargo, was the only high-ranking executive at the bank to be criminally charged for its misdeeds. She pleaded guiltythis year to one criminal charge of obstructing a bank examination.

Prosecutors had sought a 12-month prison sentence, saying in a legal filing that imprisoning Ms. Tolstedt, 63, would be a “general deterrence to other executives who might find themselves tempted to skirt the truth.”

Ms. Tolstedt’s lawyers had pressed for probation, citing similar sentences in other cases and invoking Ms. Tolstedt’s “lifelong charitable works.” Both the prosecution and the defense also cited Ms. Tolstedt’s health issues, the details of which had been redacted from the public versions of legal filings, as a factor favoring leniency.

Ms. Tolstedt ran Wells Fargo’s retail branches during the years that the bank opened what may have been millions of fraudulent bank accounts, a scandal that burst into public view in 2016 and toppled two successive chief executives.

Although fairly few customers were directly harmed by the bank’s actions — its toll fell more heavily on employees, who faced intense pressure to break the law or risk being fired — the revelation focused regulators’ attention on Wells and led to the discovery of additional misdeeds. The bank has paid billions of dollars in fines, including a $3.7 billion penalty levied last year for acts including wrongfully repossessing some borrowers’ cars and homes and charging overdraft fees even when customers had enough money to cover their purchases.

Ms. Tolstedt had consistently denied any wrongdoing in the sham accounts issue. She had retired from the bank shortly before its actions became public, and she was later retroactively fired for cause.

Ms. Tolstedt “fully accepts responsibility for her offense, and recognizes it was wrong,” her lawyers wrote in a pre-sentencing filing. In March, she agreed to pay $17 million to settle civil charges brought against her by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Ms. Tolstedt was sentenced by Judge Josephine Staton, in Los Angeles. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the central district of California declined to comment on the sentence. Ms. Tolstedt’s lawyer also declined to comment.

Wells Fargo is still haunted by the consequences of its succession of scandals. Since 2018, it has operated under a draconian asset-cap restriction imposed by the Federal Reserve that sharply limits its growth. That restriction “is a statement of the reality that we still have more work to do,” Charles Scharf, the San Francisco-based bank’s chief executive, told analysts on a call in July. He added, “It’s critical that we continue on our road to complete that work.”

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.  

The stable, positive, non-preachy and objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
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“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Former Wells Fargo Executive Avoids Prison in Sham Accounts Scandal

Former Wells Fargo Executive Avoids Prison in Sham Accounts Scandal

…And here is a genuine story about how even minimal effort to bring comfort to another human can result in outsized and wonderful results. How different the world might seem to many if that kind of true effort actually ran wild! It is a thought worth considering. It is also a siren call to each of us!

New research shows small gestures matter even more than we may think.

I wonder about when this train actually went off the rail and Balwani and Holmes both knew it. It reminds me somewhat of Bernie Madoff’s $20 Billion deception in that if Bernie had fessed up when his performance first went south and he tried to cover it up, only to make it worse, he might largely have been forgiven and returned to his original trading business. But he just couldn’t do that and as time went on…well we know the result.

Was there a similar trajectory for this pair? A time when they looked at each other and said, “Uh oh!” Not that it matters really. Somewhere along the way they knew what was going down and kept it going for as long as they could. Now have to face the music as eventually, always is the case. It is simply “The Law of Cause and Effect” unfolding. Hopefully for them there will be less tragic endings than Bernie. It depends on how they handle what they have wrought! We’ll see.