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Tuesday, January 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Wells Fargo says SEC is investigating accounts scandal

In this 2012 file photo, a customer uses an ATM outside a Wells Fargo branch in Charlotte, N.C. (Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
In this 2012 file photo, a customer uses an ATM outside a Wells Fargo branch in Charlotte, N.C. (Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
By Samantha Masunaga Los Angeles Times

Wells Fargo & Co. confirmed Thursday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has joined the growing number of state and federal agencies investigating the company’s sham-accounts scandal.

The SEC, along with the U.S. Department of Justice, the offices of state attorneys general, congressional committees and others, have “undertaken formal or informal inquiries, investigations or examinations arising out of certain sales practices of the company,” the San Francisco bank said in a regulatory filing.

The SEC declined to comment.

Wells Fargo has been under increased scrutiny since revelations that employees at the bank created as many as 2 million accounts in customers’ names without those customers’ knowledge or consent. Regulators have said workers created those accounts as they tried to meet unrealistic sales goals.

That has led to a $185 million settlement with local and federal regulators and last month’s sudden retirement of Chief Executive John Stumpf.

“The company has responded, and continues to respond, to requests from a number of the foregoing seeking information regarding these sales practices and the circumstances of the settlements and related matters,” Wells Fargo said in the regulatory filing.

The bank also said a “number of lawsuits” have been filed by “non-governmental parties seeking damages or other remedies related to these sales practices.”

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