According to federal regulators, Wells Fargo created over 1.5 million fake customer accounts. News of the scam spawned a massive media backlash against the bank, and, as a result, 5,300 branch and regional-level employees were fired. No senior executives, however, lost their jobs.
But in a hearing with the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, the heat against Wells Fargo intensified.
CEO John Stumpf apologized for the company opening accounts without people's permission and pledged to take accountability, but that didn't stop Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) from blasting him during the hearing.
Warren grilled Stumpf for not resigning and not returning the millions of dollars he received as a result of the company's fraud.
"You went on television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made you rich," Warren said. "You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. This just isn't right. A cashier who steals a handful of twenties is held accountable. But Wall Street executives... almost never hold themselves accountable."
When Stumpf appeared reluctant to weigh in further on potential resolutions following the scam, Warren asked him the perfect question that sums it all up.
"If you have no opinions on the most massive fraud that's hit this bank since the beginning of time, how can it be that you get to continue to collect a paycheck?"
To make sure that this type of fraud never happens again, Warren suggested that the U.S. adopt new laws to hold corporate executives accountable and to empower prosecutors to go after them.
And even though the hearing has concluded, Warren is continuing her crusade to take down companies like Wells Fargo that conduct fraudulent activities.