Over a dozen employees FIRED from Wells Fargo after allegations of ‘simulation of keyboard activity’

While the pandemic popularized working from home, it would appear that this particular set-up comes with its own hazards.

Bloomberg reports that Wells Fargo fired over a dozen staffers last month after it was discovered they were faking work. These employees, all of whom worked with the company’s wealth-and- investment-management unit, were “discharged after review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work.”

These simulators, often called “mouse jigglers” or “mouse movers,” were popularized during the work-from-home era of the COVID-19 pandemic which saw offices switch to remote work out of necessity.

“Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behavior,” read a statement from the company.

However, it’s not clear from the disclosures filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority if the terminated employees were fired for faking work. This could be one of many reasons why so many offices, especially the financial sector, were so firm in requesting employees come back into the office after pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Also unclear was how much time the accused employees were actually spending away from work, whether they were missing deadlines, if they were mismanaging funds, etc.

This could be another step in Wells Fargo’s attempt to rehabilitate its image, following a massive financial scandal that rocked public trust in the business.

In 2016, it was discovered that employees of the bank had been opening fraudulent accounts, millions of them, in order to artificially meet sales goals established by management. Customers victimized by this illegal practice had no idea their information had been used to open these fake accounts, and it wasn’t until 2023 that a former retail banking chief was finally sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to obstruction. The former CEO of Wells Fargo was banned from the industry as well.

Since the scandal broke, Wells Fargo has been forced to pay out billions of dollars in both criminal and civil settlements and is still facing difficulties in 2024.

In February 2024, they were sued again by a woman who claimed the bank did not do enough to help her and other victims who had been enrolled in services they neither requested nor wanted. Amanda Gonzales accused employees of giving her the runaround after she was informed it was her duty to contact the bank if she wanted to reverse the fraudulent enrollment, which in her case was insurance covering accidental deaths.

“Wells Fargo relies on the inconspicuous and suspicious nature of the letter to depress claims rates, shifting the burden on the customer to take action to dispute an ‘enrollment’ that Wells Fargo knows to have been,” reads the complaint that kicked off the class action lawsuit. Shifting the burden onto the customer allows the bank to “avoid, reduce, and delay its ultimate liability and sweep under the rug its long-standing, intentional misconduct.” The suit seeks a payout of $5 million for those who received the letters.

Sierra Marlee

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