Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has finally caught up with Richard Eggers, 68. The company filed the Des Moines worker after discovering that he has a criminal record. In 1963, Eggers used a cardboard dime at a Laundromat. His crime spree came to an end in July when the company fired him as part of its effort to stay in conformity with banking regulations to get rid of employees guilty of “transactional crimes.” I suppose using a cardboard dime at a laundromat must constitute a form of money laundering.
After what he recalled was a dumb stunt, Eggers was sentenced to 15 days in jail, though he got out after two days.
Eggers was a customer service representative who apparently held this dark secret for 49 years. He was fired with thousands of workers nationally as banks clear out any employees convicted of a crime involving dishonesty, breach of trust or money laundering. Wells Fargo appears to have taken the rules to an absurd degree.
The firing by the company shows as little humanity as it does logic. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has a waiver process to allow employees to remain in a company despite a past criminal conviction. It takes months to qualify but Eggers clearly would have met the standards. The other exception allows for an automatic waiver for those people sentenced less than a year and who spent no time in jail. However, since Eggers was jailed for two days on his dime caper, he does not qualify.
Clearly the bank is facing much more stringent rules, but the bank officer who fired Eggers clearly lacks a basic element of judgment in not starting a process for a waiver as opposed to firing him. It appears that no one in the process at the bank had the mental acumen to say “wait, this would be ridiculous and unfair for one of our workers.” The result is the bank has taken another expensive public relations hit and no doubt left some customers wondering about the competence of its management.
Eggers’ lawyer is currently working to complete the waiver process for his criminal kingpin client.