One part of Emperor Barack Obama’s legacy that doesn’t get much play is his role in allowing the big banks that blew a smoking hole in the economy in 2008 to fleece the public with impunity. To this day not one of the major executives or Wall Street gamblers who wrecked the lives of millions when their gambling schemes sent the Dow plummeting to 6,443.27 in March of 2009 has faced jail time. Barry is appropriately blasted for his executive orders, his race-baiting, his using the IRS and Justice Department of his own personal Gestapo and of course his abysmal foreign policy but seems to get off easy when it comes to the culture of corruption that is rampant within the financial sector.
Today we have another fine example in the story of a Wells Fargo executive who presided over a huge and long-running fraud operation being lavishly rewarded for what was criminal conduct that occurred under her purview. Last week it was reported that the megabank had fired over 5,000 employees for their role in the creation of millions of unauthorized bank and credit cards accounts in order to boost their own numbers. It was an outrage but even more outrageous is that the manager in charge of the department recently cashed out with a massive bonus in the neighborhood of $124 million bucks and change.
According to Zero Hedge “Supervisor Of “Massive Fraud” At Wells Fargo Leaves Bank With $125 Million Bonus”:
There was a burst of righteous populist anger anger last week, when it emerged that Wells Fargo had engaged in pervasive, “massive” fraud since at least 2011, including opening credit cards secretly without a customer’s consent, creating fake email accounts to sign up customers for online banking services, and forcing customers to accumulate late fees on accounts they never even knew they had. For this criminal conduct, Wells was fined $185 million (including a $100 million penalty from the CFPB, the largest penalty the agency has ever issued). In all, Wells opened 1.5 million bank accounts and “applied” for 565,000 credit cards that were not authorized by their customers.
As “punishment” Wells Fargo told CNN that it had fired 5,300 employees related to the shady behavior over the last few years. The firings represent about 1% of its workforce and took place over several years. The fired workers went to far as to create phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services, the CFPB said. What was hushed away is that not a single employee will go to prison, and that ultimately it will be Wells Fargo’s shareholders – such as Warren Buffett – who will end up footing the bill.
What Wells did not disclose publicly to anyone is that the head of the group responsible for Wells’ biggest consumer fraud scandal in years, is quietly leaving the bank with a $125 million bonus, a bonus which as Fortune’s Stephen Gandel writes today will not see even one cent clawed back as part of the dramatic revelations.
According to Gandel, Carrie Tolstedt, the Wells Fargo executive who was in charge of the unit where employees opened more than 2 million largely unauthorized customer accounts—a seemingly routine practice that employees internally referred to as “sandbagging”— is leaving the giant bank with an enormous pay day, some $124.6 million.
Tolstedt is walking away from Wells Fargo with a very full bank account, and praise: in the July announcement of her exit, which made no mention of the soon-to-be-settled case, Wells Fargo’s CEO John Stumpf said Tolstedt had been one of the bank’s most important leaders and “a standard-bearer of our culture” and “a champion for our customers.” In light of the record fine levied by the CFPB for the unit which Tolstedt headed, we wonder if Stumpf would like to retract his statement.
What is just as troubling is that despite beefed-up “clawback” provisions instituted by the bank shortly after the financial crisis, “it does not appear that Wells Fargo is requiring Tolstedt, the Wells Fargo executive who was in charge of the unit where employees opened more than 2 million largely unauthorized customer accounts—a seemingly routine practice that employees internally referred to as “sandbagging”—to give back any of her nine-figure pay.”
This outrageous news is part and parcel with the culture of systemic corruption that has become a hallmark in the banana republic of Obamastan. Considering that El Presidente’s Attorney Generals during his reign have been the rotten to the core Eric Holder who turned a blind eye to financial industry corruption and was handsomely rewarded with a job at Covington & Burling, a white shoe law firm that represents – you guessed it, the big banks. The worst part of it all is that Holder worked for the firm before he was tabbed by Obama and then neglected to prosecute any of the scammers at the too big to fails which grew bigger than ever under his tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
The equally malodorous sitting AG Loretta Lynch has a rather shady past as well. The shining star of diversity at the highest levels of government was at one time on the board of the New York Federal Reserve when it was presided over by the slimy former Treasury Secretary Timothy “Turbotax” Geithner. While serving as a United States Attorney in New York, Lynch helped to broker a real sweetheart of a deal with drug-money laundering bank HSBC. She has yet to cash out but has to finish her shift as the fox guarding the henhouse first. Honorable mention for Obama’s legal crusaders goes to current FBI Director James Comey who incredibly once sat on the board at HSBC.
As the old Greek proverb goes, “a fish rots from the head down” and under Obama’s watch corruption has become a virtue while playing by the rules is a game for fools.