House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-CA, asked the Justice Department on Tuesday to consider filing criminal charges against former Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan regarding "inaccurate and misleading testimony" he gave during a committee hearing last year.
Sloan, who led the scandal-plagued bank from October 2016 to March 2019, resigned shortly after testifying at a House hearing over the bank’s widespread consumer abuses.
- "Because this matter involves a potential violation of a federal criminal statute, I am requesting that the DOJ review Mr. Sloan’s testimony," Waters wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Barr. Waters sent the letter on the same day that new Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf testified in front of the panel.
Waters asked the DOJ to refer to a recent House report, a scathing 113-page document released by committee Democrats last week, that claims the bank’s senior management failed to comply with consent orders issued by regulators in response to the bank’s widespread consumer abuses.
The report includes internal emails revealing staffers at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) questioned the accuracy of Sloan’s statements a day after his March 12 hearing.
During the hearing, Waters asked then-CEO Sloan if the bank was in compliance with the OCC’s consent order regarding remediation for consumers harmed by the bank’s auto insurance and mortgage practices. "We are in compliance with those plans," Sloan responded.
Internal emails included in the House report, however, show OCC staff said the bank was not in compliance with one of two portions of their remediation plans, leading an OCC senior official to conclude Sloan gave inaccurate testimony to the committee, the report claims.
"The allegation that Tim Sloan provided inaccurate and misleading testimony to the House Financial Services Committee is completely unfounded," Sloan’s attorney, Josh Cohen, said in a statement to Banking Dive. "Mr. Sloan described the considerable efforts that Wells Fargo made under his leadership to comply with the consent orders and directives of regulators. His testimony to the Committee about those efforts was truthful and in good faith."
The country’s fourth-largest bank has been under scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators since 2016, when Wells Fargo employees were found to have created roughly 3.5 million fake accounts to receive sales-based incentives.