California Attorney General Kamala Harris is leading an investigation into whether criminal identity theft took place at Wells Fargo, a bank embroiled in a scandal that may involve up to two million bank and credit card accounts allegedly created without customers' approval as part of an unscrupulous, sales-driven corporate culture.
The LA Times has learned through a public records request of a warrant served on October 5th to search Wells Fargo's San Francisco headquarters. The Associated Press confirmed the news of the AG's investigation with Harris's office and also obtained copies of the warrant, which they write seeks names of customers who had accounts improperly opened as well as the names of employees who opened these accounts, their managers names, and information pertaining to associated fees that may have been in play.
Wells Fargo's alleged wrongdoing has led to anger and chastisement at virtually every level. Here, in San Francisco, supervisors will vote on a resolution to cut all financial ties with the company. US attorney's in SF, NY, and Charlotte have already opened inquiries into the conduct of the bank.
The LA Times writes that documents accompanying the warrant cite probable cause that Wells Fargo has been in violation of the state penal code in two ways that can be charged as felonies and which are punishable by imprisonment, violations concerning impersonation and use of unauthorized personal information. Whom Harris' office might charge — higher ups are lower-level workers — remains to be seen. Finally, the political timing of the Attorney General's move is interesting to note, as it comes mere weeks before the end of her campaign against Loretta Sanchez to succeed Barbara Boxer in the US Senate.