Dime Crime

Published September 24, 2012

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Des Moines fired an employee this July for a crime he committed 49 years ago, contending the firing was necessary under federal law.

A new law prohibits insured depositories like Wells Fargo from exposing customers’ financial information to employees who have committed a crime involving dishonesty.

Wells Fargo learned one of its customer service representatives, now 68, used a fake dime to do his laundry at a Carlisle, Iowa laundromat in 1963. He was charged with operating a coin-changing machine by false means. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 days in jail, but was fined $50 and released early so he could leave for college.

“It is uncomfortable, but it is a law that we have to follow,” said a Wells Fargo spokesman. “We have the responsibility to avoid hiring or continuing to employ someone who we know has a criminal record.”

The man’s lawyer is trying to get a waiver for the man from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. His client “did something stupid,” the lawyer said. “He put a wood dime in a laundry machine,” he said. “The spirit of the law was to prevent widespread mortgage fraud but does not apply to my client, who is a customer service representative.”

The lawyer doesn’t blame Wells Fargo. “The FDIC’s regulation is overly broad,” he said.

Source: “Wells Fargo Fires Employee For Stealing a Dime in 1963,”ABC News, August 30, 2012 h/t Jonathan Turley