By Alec Brooks of Kazerouni Law Group, APC on Monday, October 24, 2016.
On Sept. 9 managing partner Abbas Kazerounian was a guest on “The Chip Franklin Show,” a radio talk show broadcast on San Francisco’s KGO10. Kazerounian was brought on to shed light on the Wells Fargo in which employees were setting up credit card accounts for clients without their permission. Franklin’s first question to Kazerounian surrounded how the Wells Fargo employees were able to pull this off?
“The way that this happened is that it happened to pre-existing customers of Wells Fargo,” Kazerounian said. “The employees were put on a bonus-incentive program. What they were doing was using the data they already had on pre-existing clients and just setting up new accounts and transferring funds from existing accounts into the new accounts without authorization from the clients.”
Franklin, after hearing this explanation expressed his opinion that these actions should result in criminal charges as well as civil. Kazerounian went on to explain that he agrees there are criminal implications, and that he, along with the rest of the attorneys here at KLG are looking into whether there are civil penalties that can be brought through civil lawsuits.
“The $185 million was a lawsuit that was brought by the city attorney Mike Furrer in LA so that’s going to the Government, Kazerounian said. “There is a restitutionary portion to that, but I still think that consumers out there potentially deserve more money and that’s something that myself and other attorneys are looking into.”
Franklin moved on to ask about the hierarchy within Wells Fargo and who’s directly responsible for these bogus accounts. He was sure it must be high up in management because tellers were way too low to have that Kind of power, but Kazerounian didn’t necessarily think that it all came from the top.
“I don’t think it would have to go that high because tellers would have access to the information they need like social security numbers and addresses,” Kazerounian said. “If these are the people who are given the task of setting up new accounts all they would have to do is look up one person’s account, get that data, assume they want to set up another, and set it up fraudulently.”
Kazerounian believes that this scam was able to carry on for as long as it did due to the lack of diligence among the American people when it comes to checking things like their credit reports and bank statements. He emphasized the fact that we all live in a credit based system and we must act accordingly. Speaking from personal experience and the years he’s spent representing consumers facing massive debt and terrible credit reports, he hopes in the future people are more prompt and efficient when monitoring their credit.
Franklin, to close the segment moved the conversation toward more global repercussions and discussed the concerns raised in today’s world where computer hackers across the globe are capable of wreaking havoc on just about anyone with a click of their mouse. Kazerounian added that it’s in fact a scary time in more ways than one, but when it comes to protecting our bank accounts and assets that all we can do is take as much precaution as possible.
The age of information has its benefits and its downfalls. The same expansion of knowledge that allows us an ever-growing encyclopedia at our fingertips also allows for criminals to have much easier access to our private records. If you or someone you know is the victim of credit fraud, please contact Kazerouni Law Group at 800-400-6808 and let us strengthen the barricade between your private finances and those who want to hurt them.