Federal Prosecutors Investigating Wells Fargo Over Sales Practices

A former Wells Fargo employee from the Bay Area has been subpoenaed to provide documents as part of grand jury investigation.

Federal prosecutors have issued a subpoena to a former Wells Fargo employee from the Napa Valley for material related to the bank’s sales tactics.

According to a grand jury subpoena obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California ordered Yesenia Guitron to provide all documents obtained during her employment involving Wells Fargo’s sales practices.

The subpoena, issued on Dec. 12, also asked her to provide documentation about complaints she made and “all documents relating to any discipline, employment action or other form of retaliation” taken against her by the bank.

The grand jury investigation could result in criminal charges against Wells Fargo.

In September the bank was fined $185 million by federal regulators after employees opened two million fraudulent bank accounts and credit cards to meet sales goals. Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees tied to the scandal, but revelations have surfaced that the company also fired employees for blowing the whistle about phony customer accounts.

Guitron, a former personal banker at the Wells Fargo branch in St. Helena, was fired in January 2010 after she said she made numerous complaints to her manager, human resources and the company’s ethics hotline about the fraudulent bank accounts. She first told NBC Bay Area in October that she believes she was terminated for speaking up about unethical business practices, which she noticed right after she started working for the company in March 2008.

Guitron said she has now become the “squeaky wheel” – contacting lawmakers and regulators about the retaliation she believes she faced for raising red flags. Her federal retaliation lawsuit was dismissed in 2012. She said she welcomes the opportunity to appear before the grand jury to tell her story.

Her attorney Yosef Peretz said his client will comply with the order, which requires the production of documents from Jan. 1, 2006 to the present.

A spokesman for the Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said the office has “no comment, including on the existence or non-existence of an investigation.” A spokesperson for Wells Fargo said the company has no comment.  

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit email theunit@nbcbayarea.com or call 888-996-TIPS. Follow Liz on Facebook and Twitter

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