Amid ongoing investigations into Wells Fargo’s widespread fraud scandal, the banking giant is scrambling to do something – anything – to get federal agencies and probes off of their backs. They are so desperate to bury this scandal that CEO John Stumpf has elected to forfeit a significant portion of his salary, including his bonus and stock awards.
Senator Elizabeth Warren who oversaw a Senate special committee to investigate Wells Fargo called for CEO Stumpf’s resignation just last week. His seemingly generous salary surrender is likely just a last-ditch effort to save his career.
In addition to Stumpf’s surrender of cash, former Wells Fargo executive Carrie Tolstedt, who many believe was directly responsible for the fraud carried out by the over 5,000 employees under her control, will no longer be paid severance pay or other benefits she would have normally received.
Tolstedt fled the company when news of the scandal broke, though at the time, Wells Fargo offered no comment on her exodus. Though Tolstedt will no longer receive her severance or bonus pay, nor will she have access to uncashed stock awards, she is still fat and happy with the piles of cash she made on the backs of innocent customers.
The fact that Wells Fargo and its CEO is made to scramble at all is a sign of how far we might be coming as a nation in our treatment of white collar crime. Many assume Stumpf and other Wells Fargo executives will escape this scandal with their careers and cash intact, and though that may be the eventual outcome, things are already going further than they would have in the past.
As federal investigations continue into executives’ role in the fraud, we can only hope that some higher-ups will be held accountable in either a court of law or unemployment office.
You can read more about this small victory at CNN Money.