With the checks now in the U.S. Treasury, a judge closed the contempt of court action against Wells Fargo on Wednesday.
Although U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. was close to dropping the financial penalty against the bank for contempt of court, he changed his mind after the court received documentation that proved Wells Fargo’s assertions in court Feb. 11 were false.
“More than anything else, this matter must be put to rest. Wells Fargo’s efforts to exculpate its corporate self have had only the effect of tarnishing its collective credibility by miscommunications which are ... disingenuous at best (and deceptive at worst),” Bowen wrote in his order.
Wells Fargo, one of the country’s largest banks, landed in trouble after it repeatedly failed to comply with court orders.
Bowen found the bank in civil and criminal contempt of court at a Feb. 11 hearing. The final straw was an 11-day delay in the receipt of an $8,000 check out of the bank account of a convicted bank robber — Andrew Nelson, who robbed a Wells Fargo branch on Jan. 5, 2013.
Bowen ordered the bank to pay a $5,000 penalty for criminal contempt of court and $2,500 for civil contempt of court. The fines were paid immediately, Bowen noted, and a $8,000 check was turned over to the clerk’s office after the hearing.
The original $8,000 check that the bank’s attorneys said was issued and mailed Feb. 5 wasn’t sent until Feb. 10, Bowen noted. That check was received on Tuesday.
In his order, Bowen wrote that one of the $8,000 checks would be returned to Wells Fargo.