Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has fired a customer service representative for trying to put a fake cardboard dime into a washing machine — almost 50 years ago.
“It was a stupid stunt and I’m not real proud of it, but to fire somebody for something like this after seven good years of employment is a dirty trick when you come right down to it,” 68-year-old Richard Eggers told the Des Moines Register. “And they’re doing this kind of thing all across the country.”
Eggers, who pulled the stunt in 1963 and was convicted of operating a coin changing machine by false means, has found himself the victim of sweeping new banking regulations that are meant to rid banks of executives and middle managers with a history of fraud. But the regulations also call for $1 million fines for noncompliance, so banks have been aggressively enforcing them across the board.
“We are operating in an environment where we’re facing new regulations and a heightened level of scrutiny on all our activities,” Wells Fargo spokeswoman Angela Kaipust said. “The expectations that have been placed on us and all financial institutions have never been higher.”
“These guidelines are really meant for executives and people who can perpetuate widespread fraud,” attorney Leonard Bates, who is representing Eggers, said. “They’re not meant for low-level call center employees like Mr. Eggers.”
Bates is trying to help Eggers get a waiver from the FDIC that would allow him to work at a bank despite his coin-laundry conviction, but the process can take up to a year.
“I just want my job back,” Eggers said. “I’m having to sign up for Social Security because of this, but I didn’t want to. I had hoped to work four more years. … I’d prefer to stay busy.”