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Wells Fargo Ex-General Counsel Fined $3.5 Million in Sales Probe

Jan. 15, 2021, 6:22 PM

Wells Fargo & Co’s former general counsel James Strother agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine to the U.S. Treasury for his role in the bank’s sales-practices scandal.

Strother also agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to cooperate with federal regulators in investigations of the San Francisco-based bank’s misconduct, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Friday in a statement.

“Jim Strother is an honorable man who dedicated over 30 years in the service of Wells Fargo,” Walt Brown, his lawyer at Orrick, said in a statement. “He retired in 2017, and is pleased to put this matter behind him.”

The OCC had filed a notice of charges against Strother a year ago. It has now reached settlements with seven former Wells Fargo executives, according to its statement.

Read more: Ex-Wells Fargo Bosses Face Record Fines as Stumpf Gets Ban

The bank has been working to emerge from a years-long series of controversies over its practices, including the revelation that employees may have opened millions of fraudulent customer accounts to meet their sales targets. Wells Fargo remains under a Federal Reserve-imposed growth limit related to the scandals.

A bank spokesperson declined to comment. When OCC actions were announced a year ago, the firm issued a statement acknowledging that its operations had been flawed, and saying it had improved practices and controls.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Hannah Levitt in New York at hlevitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Sally Bakewell at sbakewell1@bloomberg.net

Dan Reichl, Daniel Taub

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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