James Rufus Koren
May 5, 2016

The latest allegations of unethical practices at Wells Fargo are so disturbing that even the bank has called them “offensive.”

Former bank employees have signed sworn statements saying that they were told to target immigrants in the U.S. illegally, as well as Native Americans and college students as they sought to open sham accounts to meet the bank’s onerous sales goals.

Submitted as part of a shareholder lawsuit against the bank’s board, the statements by the former employees from California, Utah, Wisconsin and Arizona detail practices they say they were pushed to use to bring in new customers and open accounts — both legitimate and unauthorized.

One former Wells Fargo employee said that managers at his Petaluma branch would regularly send Latino employees to a local 7-Eleven convenience store frequented by day laborers.

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“The Wells Fargo employees were instructed to ‘round up’ a group of the undocumented workers and drive them back to the Wells Fargo branch to open checking and savings accounts,” former employee Denny Russo said in the statement. “My colleagues constantly went to and from this location to try to meet their sales goals.”

Speaking at this week’s Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Wells Fargo Chief Executive Timothy Sloan said the bank did not target immigrants who are in the country illegally and that it would not be logical to do so.

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