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Wells Fargo uncovers up to 1.4 million more fake accounts

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Bob D Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Wells Fargo announced Thursday it has uncovered up to 1.4 million more fake accounts, nearly a year after its fraudulent account scandal first emerged, CNN reported.

The findings brought the number of potentially unauthorized accounts to 3.5 million — a nearly 70 percent increase over the bank’s initial estimate, the New York Times reported.

The additional fake accounts were discovered by a previously announced analysis dated to January 2009 and that further reviewed the original May 2011 to mid-2015 period.

Approximately 190,000 accounts were hit with unnecessary fees for these accounts, Wells Fargo said. That’s up from 130,000, CNN reported. Also, thousands of customers were enrolled in online bill pay without their authorization. The review put that number at 528,000, CNN reported.

“We apologize to everyone who was harmed by unacceptable sales practices that occurred in our retail bank,” Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said in a statement.

Wells Fargo said it will now refund customers $6.1 million for unauthorized bank and credit card accounts, up from $3.3 million previously. The bank also promised to pay $910,000 to refund customers for the improper online bill pay enrollments. The review of online bill pay was required by the September 2016 settlement, CNN reported.

Wells Fargo agreed in September 2016 to pay $185 million to settle three government lawsuits over the bank’s creation of fake accounts, the Times reported.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the discovery of more fake accounts “unbelievable” on Twitter. The Democrat renewed her calls for Congress to hold more Wells Fargo hearings and for the Federal Reserve to remove board members who served during the scandal.
“I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” Warren said.

Wells Fargo said that customers who believe accounts were opened in their name should call a dedicated hotline: 1-877-924-8697.

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