Dec 23 The U.S. Department of Justice has
subpoenaed a high-profile whistleblower in its criminal
investigation into Wells Fargo & Co's opening of
accounts without customer permission.
U.S. prosecutors in San Francisco have asked Wells Fargo
banker Yesenia Guitron, who lost a private lawsuit against the
fourth-largest lender, to testify before a grand jury in San
Francisco on Tuesday, according to a subpoena dated Dec. 12,
which was seen by Reuters.
A Wells Fargo spokesman declined to comment.
Guitron is among at least five Wells Fargo employees who
sued the bank or filed complaints with regulators alleging that
they were fired after reporting the opening of customer accounts
without their permission, according to a Reuters review of
lawsuits and complaints to the U.S. Labor Department.
The suits and complaints, filed between 2010 and 2014, raise
questions about how early Wells Fargo knew about such
allegations and how it handled them.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo reached a settlement with
U.S. regulators and the Los Angeles city attorney in September.
The Justice Department subpoena directs Guitron to bring all
documents related to her employment at Wells, including any
related to sales practices, discipline "or other form of
retaliation taken against you by Wells Fargo or Wells Fargo
Guitron and her lawyer were not immediately available for
comment. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the Northern
District of California, which issued the subpoena, declined
The bank has acknowledged opening as many as 2 million
accounts without customer permission, and it fired 5,300
employees for the behavior. Former staffers have publicly
described a culture where they were pushed into hitting
unrealistic sales targets and opened the sham accounts to do so.
Wells Fargo chief executive John Stumpf resigned in October
after intense questioning before Congress. Beyond the Justice
Department probe, Wells Fargo is facing others from various
lawmakers and regulators, including a criminal probe by the
California attorney general's office.
Guitron and another personal banker, Judi Klosek, filed
complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, as well as a joint federal lawsuit in 2010,
claiming Wells Fargo retaliated against them for blowing the
whistle on similar conduct.
Guitron alleged that managers responded by falsifying a
paper trail that purported to document her poor performance,
forbidding her from taking family medical leave and firing her
A federal judge ultimately dismissed all of Guitron's
claims, saying Wells Fargo was justified in firing her because
she failed to meet sales quotas and refused to meet with
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Suzanne Barlyn;
Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Leslie Adler)