Wells Fargo just came under fire when The Navajo Nation hit them with a federal lawsuit. The suite accuses the financial institution that the bank is targeting some of the most vulnerable members of the Navajo tribe in a large and notorious sales scam.
In a 55 page lawsuit that was filed in the Albuquerque, New Mexico United States district court on Tuesday states that Wells Fargo used predatory practices against both minors and elders with a sales campaign Wells Fargo ran between 2011 and 2016. The sale scam include having employees create over 1.5 million fake checking accounts and prompted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to step in and place a fine against Wells Fargo for $185 million in 2016. The lawsuit goes on to state that Wells Fargo is the only national bank that is located within the Navajo Nation an they took special advantage of tribal members.
According to Navajo Notion President Russell Begaye, Wells Fargo exploited their customers and that fact is incredibly well documented. Even knowing that, the actions Wells Fargo took against the Navajo people has been uniquely outrageous. Stated in the lawsuit is the fact that Wells Fargo employees lied to elders of the Navajo tribe that did not speak English, they informed these people that they could only cash checks for them if they opened savings account. These customers did not understand nor did they need these accounts. The employees were attempting to meet high sales quotas that Wells Fargo places on employees, they were also accused of opening these unauthorized accounts for minors.
According to the attorney representing the Navajo Tribe, John Hueston, this is a specific target of an ethnic community in the US, not only that but also very vulnerable subgroups in the Navajo Tribe. Hueston also stated that this current level of exploitation of such a vulnerable community is something that has not been seen in other cases so far to date. Currently, the lawsuit is seeking fines, damages, and penalties that reach over $50 million. For more information, head to the Huffington Post.