FYI-Wachovia customers beware
This is in the New York Times. Pretty bad behavior from the 4th largest bank in the country.
The New York Times
February 6, 2008
Papers Show Wachovia Knew of Thefts
By CHARLES DUHIGG
Last spring, Wachovia bank was accused in a lawsuit of allowing fraudulent telemarketers to use the bankÃ¢ÂÂs accounts to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims. When asked about the suit, bank executives said they had been unaware of the thefts.
But newly released documents from that lawsuit now show that Wachovia had long known about allegations of fraud and that the bank, in fact, solicited business from companies it knew had been accused of telemarketing crimes.
Internal Wachovia e-mail, for example, show that high-ranking employees at the nationÃ¢ÂÂs fourth-largest bank frequently warned colleagues about telemarketing frauds routed through its accounts.
Documents also show that Wachovia was alerted by other banks and federal agencies about ongoing deceptions, but that it continued to provide banking services to multiple companies that helped steal as much as $400 million from unsuspecting victims.
Ã¢ÂÂYIKES!!!!Ã¢ÂÂ wrote one Wachovia executive in 2005, warning colleagues that an account used by telemarketers had drawn 4,500 complaints in just two months. Ã¢ÂÂDOUBLE YIKES!!!!Ã¢ÂÂ she added. Ã¢ÂÂThere is more, but nothing more that I want to put into a note.Ã¢ÂÂ
However, Wachovia continued processing fraudulent transactions for that account and others, partly because the bank charged fraud artists a large fee every time a victim spotted a bogus transaction and demanded their money back. One company alone paid Wachovia about $1.5 million over 11 months, according to investigators.
Ã¢ÂÂWe are making a ton of money from them,Ã¢ÂÂ wrote Linda Pera, a Wachovia executive, in 2005 about a company that was later accused by federal prosecutors of helping steal up to $142 million.
Ms. Pera left Wachovia in 2006, and could not be located.
A link that might be useful:
*The link is too long to post, but if you google "Papers Show Wachovia Knew of Thefts", it will pop right up.