PORTLAND, Ore. — A former fraud investigator for Wells Fargo in Portland has sued the company, saying he was fired as retaliation for complaining about the company's fraud investigation practices.
Matthew Valles, 30, was fired in January after seven years with the company. Valles says he was terminated because he complained about hundreds of fraud investigations that he says were closed too soon by the corporation.
Valles said Wells Fargo closed or froze accounts that showed signs of fraud, such as a counterfeit check, unauthorized withdrawal or other suspicious activities. He said by closing or freezing the account, Wells Fargo saved the time and money it would take to fully investigate the claims.
Wells Fargo’s actions have harmed thousands of its customers, Valles said, not just here in Portland but across the nation. When accounts are closed or frozen, not only are fraud victims dropped by the bank, they’re also forced to absorb the costs of any fraudulent activities and lose potential aid from the bank in getting their money back.
“It’s on Wells Fargo and their management,” Valles said. “They are the ones making the calls. They are the ones putting people in certain positions that have them in leadership, and they are the ones that need to be held responsible for it.”
Wells Fargo spokesman Jim Seitz said the company is looking into Valles’ complaints and lawsuit.
“We take seriously the concerns of current and former team members and investigate them thoroughly. Wells Fargo is reviewing the legal complaint that was filed this afternoon,” he said.
“Our goal is to protect our customers and the bank from fraud, and we want to do so in ways that minimize the risk and impact on our customers,” the company said in a statement.
Last month, the Federal Reserve criticized the bank for what it called "widespread consumer abuses," forbidding the company from growing any larger until its business practices are improved under strict guidelines.