- Wells Fargo's former general counsel, James Strother, will pay the Treasury Department $3.5 million in a settlement over his role in the bank's 2016 fake accounts scandal, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced Friday.
- Strother is the seventh former Wells executive to reach a settlement with the OCC over the scandal since last January, when the regulator banned ex-Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf and fined him $17.5 million.
- Strother also agreed to a cease-and-desist order, which he must present to the president or CEO of any bank with which he is or will be affiliated, according to an OCC legal filing.
The penalty against Strother, who served as Wells' general counsel from 2003 to 2017, isn't as severe as the $5 million regulators first suggested, according to American Banker. Strother was among several Wells executives the regulator brought up on civil charges last January.
Wells Fargo's legal department led by Strother "had a responsibility to ensure incentive compensation plans were designed and operated in accordance with bank policy, evaluate risk and ensure it was adequately managed," the OCC said in its complaint last year, adding that the department failed to "adequately [perform] their responsibilities with respect to the sales practices misconduct problem."
In Friday's settlement, Strother agreed "to cooperate with the OCC in any investigation, litigation, or administrative proceeding related to sales practices misconduct at the bank," the regulator said in a press release.
A spokesperson for Wells Fargo declined to comment to Bloomberg.
But Strother's attorney, Walt Brown of Orrick, issued a statement seen by the wire service. "Jim Strother is an honorable man who dedicated over 30 years in the service of Wells Fargo," Brown said. "He retired in 2017, and is pleased to put this matter behind him."