Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"Dozens of Wells Fargo Employees Filed Whistleblower Complaints with Feds, New Data Shows"

"The majority of complaints involve allegations of corporate fraud and consumer financial fraud, according to OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.

Corporate fraud the government didn't do anything about

Employees raised their hands when they noticed something wasn’t right at Wells Fargo, and say the company fired them because of it.

Over and over again, 
with tacit permission from federal regulatory authorities
who stood by and did nothing while Wells Fargo ripped off their clients

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has learned dozens of Wells Fargo employees filed retaliation complaints with a federal whistleblower program since 2010.

The new data – obtained exclusively by the Investigative Unit – reveals that not only did the bank know about widespread complaints, but the government did, too.

The 'government' employees who let this happen
still have their jobs, and are about to enjoy a prosperous Thanksgiving
at the expense of those whose lives they helped destroy

Dozens of Wells Fargo employees filed whistleblower complaints with the federal government, alleging the company retaliated against them for raising red flags about corporate and consumer financial fraud, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has learned.

The new data, provided by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), reveals that as early as 2010, both Wells Fargo and the government knew about widespread concerns involving the nation’s third largest bank...

They knew and did nothing

OSHA’s “preliminary analysis” shows the administration received 65 retaliation complaints across the country from 2010 to September of this year. Wells Fargo complainants sent their cases to the administration’s Whistleblower Protection Program, which is tasked with enforcing various whistleblower laws.

...former whistleblower investigator Darrell Whitman revealed to the Investigative Unit last month that no one inside the administration actually investigated a complaint. Instead, he said OSHA’s regional office in San Francisco stalled the complaint for six months and assigned the case to him only to close it...

...another former investigator revealed what she believes are flaws in the program designed to protect employees from retaliation...

...OSHA reports that the majority of the complaints – 63 percent – were filed under statutes that protect employees from retaliation for reporting suspected bank or securities fraud and consumer financial fraud.

...Another Wells Fargo whistleblower complaint crossed Sue Kamlet’s desk in 2014. The former employment lawyer and Assistant U.S. Attorney investigated retaliation complaints for OSHA’s regional office in San Francisco for eight years.

But the Wells Fargo case sat in the back of Kamlet’s file cabinet until she said it was transferred to her supervisor. She said her office was bogged down in a sea of other cases, many of which sat with no action. The Investigative Unit learned that the Wells Fargo case briefly assigned to Kamlet was filed in 2011, and that it’s still pending today.

...The Department of Labor said OSHA is still investigating a handful of Wells Fargo whistleblower complaints. In a September letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has emerged as one of the company’s most fervent critics, the department said that some complaints had no merit under whistleblower laws...

Which wasn't true, which I can prove,
as Wells Fargo lied to OSHA and got away with it

But Kamlet points out what she considers to be a problem with whistleblower cases that settle. She said investigators would gather evidence in response to claims of wrongdoing, but unless enforcement agencies specifically asked to review the evidence, the information would go nowhere if cases settled.

“We’d have complainants alleging fraud – sometimes at the criminal level – and the cases would settle,” she said. “The company would settle and the evidence would go to the back of the file cabinet.”

The Whistleblower Protection Program routinely provides summaries of allegations to federal regulatory agencies when people file complaints, but “there is no mechanism for investigators to provide evidence forward to enforcement agencies” Kamlet said.

Congress tasked OSHA with protecting whistleblowers from retaliation, but Kamlet said the administration is also responsible for furthering the public interest by preventing activity – like financial fraud – that could harm consumers.

Didn't happen

Kamlet and Whitman have been vocal critics of the Whistleblower Protection Program, alleging that dysfunction inside of their office has failed to bring complainants justice and failed to expose public health and safety concerns and corporate and financial wrongdoing.

To the detriment of the public,
and those who were in charge of it are most likely still in charge

...OSHA fired Whitman last year because he provided internal information to whistleblowers. Whitman filed his own retaliation case with the federal government earlier this year.

...Kamlet said the administration fired her in January for failing to efficiently resolve her cases.

"Efficient" is not doing it right or wrong, 
but screwing people in a timely manner

Both believe they were terminated for speaking up about problems inside OSHA. A spokesman said the administration can’t comment on personnel issues.

In September, the Department of Labor asked OSHA to undertake a top-to-bottom review of all whistleblower cases related to Wells Fargo since 2010 to “determine what the facts are, what we can do about them and how we can learn from this situation."

I was told there wasn't going to be anything done about "them
by Megan E. Guenther, Counsel for Whistleblower Programs
Division of Fair Labor Standards [FLS]
Deputy Solicitor for National Operations
United States Department of Labor [DOL]

and Mary Ann Howe, CFE
Assistant Regional Administrator
US. Department of Labor, OSHA

Kamlet said she lacks confidence in the department’s ability to police itself.


“I have been given no reason to trust the Department of Labor,” she said.

The Department of Labor did not respond to multiple requests for comment about Kamlet’s claims."
Getting closer; "Wells Fargo sales scandal extends to brokerage unit: US senators"

We are supposed to meet in early November

Awesome; "Former Federal Investigator Says Government Didn't Investigate Wells Fargo Whistleblower Cases"

North Carolina's Consumer Protection Division doesn't really care about helping Wells Fargo's clients

The CFPB didn't do anything about Wells Fargo until the LA Times did

How Wells Fargo Board Whistleblower Communications didn't get to the board's ethics committee

"Wells Fargo Whistleblower Claims Get New Scrutiny in Labor Review"