Opinion: Why prosecute Wells Fargo execs when you can make the innocent shareholders pay?

A California branch of Wells Fargo.

To the editor: Wells Fargo defrauded a few million people out of hundreds of millions of dollars in order to pad the corporate bottom line and, presumably, fatten the paychecks of the people in charge. (“Stop the next Wells Fargo scandal before it happens,” Opinion, Aug. 30)

It did this across multiple states with a gang (sorry, I meant organization) of employees who did as they were told or risked termination (of employment, not the other kind).

In the real world, more than a few people would have at least been criminally indicted for this conduct. But this is the world of Wall Street, financial regulators and Congress. Were anyone to actually be prosecuted, many of those campaign contributions and junkets would probably vanish.

It’s much easier and less messy to have the shareholders pay the fines out of their future dividends. I should have been a banker.


Mike Liewald, Los Alamitos


To the editor: If the folks at MS-13 or any number of other criminal enterprises had done what Wells Fargo did to the public, they would have been put behind bars — for an awfully long time. Why do bank executives and board members seem to be exempt from [punishment for] the same highway robbery?

I say go after the top managers who knew about the fraudulent accounts or should have known the extent of the crimes with all the tools of a RICO investigation. Only a few years in jail will cure this malfeasance. Obviously, fines haven’t — they’re just part of the cost of doing business.


Next time let’s try jail. They’re not too big to jail.

John C. Forney, Claremont

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