Former Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive John Stumpf and former top executive Carrie Tolsted were accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of misleading shareholders about the success of the company’s community bank.
Stumpf, who retired in 2016 after the bank’s deceptions came to light, agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine to settle the allegations, the SEC said. He and Tolstedt, who didn’t reach a settlement of the claims against her, knew or should have known that statements they signed attesting to the success of the bank’s “cross-sell metric” were false or misleading, the regulator said. Tolstedt also left the bank in 2016.
“If executives speak about a key performance metric to promote their business, they must do so fully and accurately,” SEC enforcement director Stephanie Avakian said in the agency’s statement.
The SEC is seeking fines, disgorgement and a ban on serving as an officer or director of a public company against Tolstedt. Stumpf agreed to settle the agency’s claims without admitting or denying wrongdoing. His $2.5 million fine will be pooled with $500 million collected from an earlier settlement with the bank in a fund for harmed investors, the SEC said.
Wells Fargo earlier this year agreed to pay $3 billion — including $500 million to the SEC — to settle U.S. investigations into more than a decade of widespread consumer abuses under a deal that let the bank avoid criminal charges. The lender had previously paid more than $1 billion to U.S. regulators over consumer mistreatment, $575 million to 50 states and the District of Columbia and $480 million in an investor class-action lawsuit.
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