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Wells Fargo found in contempt of court in U.S. District Court in Augusta

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 5:34 PM
Last updated 11:24 PM
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One of the country’s largest banks was found in contempt of court Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Augusta after the bank repeatedly failed to comply with court orders.



U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. found Wells Fargo not only in civil contempt of court but also in criminal contempt of court. 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.

Wells Fargo’s troubles complying with court orders started July 31 when Bowen issued orders for the bank to freeze the account of Andrew Nelson and to provide bank statements on the account to a probation officer.

Nelson was under indictment on charges of robbing a Wells Fargo bank branch on Jan. 5, 2013. He was appointed an attorney free of charge, and his attorney sought money to pay for a psychiatric evaluation.

Bowen ordered a probation officer to determine Nelson’s financial condition after learning Nelson had several thousand dollars in the bank, mostly from an $800 monthly disability check. The Department of Veterans Affairs payment was for post-traumatic stress disorder. Nelson, the judge said, had never served a day outside the United States.

The probation officer got Nelson’s previous bank statements but none after July, which was included in Bowen’s order. On Aug. 9, the officer learned that Nelson’s bank account – which was supposed to be frozen – had dropped by about $2,000.

Bowen repeated his court orders in August. On Jan. 23, after learning that Wells Fargo had failed to provide the bank statements as ordered, Bowen set a hearing for the next day. Bank executives were subpoenaed to court.

Wells Fargo Vice President Susan Honnicut, who is also president of the area marketing and represents the bank in the community, learned of the situation the day the subpoenas were issued. A half-hour before the hearing, the documents were delivered.

Bowen canceled the hearing, but in an order Jan. 24, he warned Wells Fargo there could be no further excuses in complying with court orders.

Seven days later, Bowen ruled that Nelson should bear some of the cost of his defense, and the judge issued a court order requiring Wells Fargo to send an $8,000 payment from Nelson’s account.

Bowen said he was not persuaded that Wells Fargo had complied simply by claiming “the check is in the mail.”

“I dare say the bank’s not likely to accept that explanation very often,” Bowen said. Pointing out that one of Wells Fargo’s 60,000 branches was just a few blocks from the federal courthouse, Bowen said there was no excuse for the delay.

“They are certainly not too big to comply with this court’s orders,” Bowen said of Wells Fargo, which received in 2008 and later repaid $25 billion in bailout money.

Saying a juror arriving late to court might be fined $100 for contempt, Bowen set Wells Fargo’s penalty at $5,000 for criminal contempt of court. He fined the bank $2,500 for civil contempt and ordered both sums to be paid immediately.

Bowen imposed a daily penalty of $2,500 until the check is received or Wells Fargo has paid $8,000.

Nelson was convicted of bank robbery on Feb. 6. A sentencing date has not been set.

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OJP
4660
Points
OJP 02/11/14 - 07:59 pm
1
5

What was Judge Bowen getting at here:

"Nelson, the judge said, had never served a day outside the United States."?

SJL1204
185
Points
SJL1204 02/11/14 - 08:27 pm
7
0

OJP

Trying to point out that it is odd he has post traumatic syndrome when he has never left the country. Yet he receives a check for PTSD.

itsanotherday1
34698
Points
itsanotherday1 02/11/14 - 09:26 pm
5
1

What he was getting is while

What he was getting is while PTSD is a real and debilitating mental illness, it is also a scam pulled by many to get on the dole; just like many other hard to define/prove disabilities.

Navy Gary
903
Points
Navy Gary 02/12/14 - 07:49 am
6
2

What if....

What if he saw someone get sucked into a propeller of an airplane? What if the VA themselves screwed him up so bad that he has PTSD from that? (Judge Bowen should know this from the MANY VA malpractice cases that come across his desk every year.) There are many ways to get PTSD while in the military. The disease does not require you to leave the US to afflict.

lowe_ryder
24
Points
lowe_ryder 02/12/14 - 09:40 am
0
0

He should have been harder on

He should have been harder on Wells Fargo, maybe imposed some time in "The Grey Bar Inn"

daphne3520
946
Points
daphne3520 02/12/14 - 10:52 am
0
1

Wells Fargo Bank is a

Unpublished

FRAUD!!!! I just go to Wally World in North Augusta, buy a candy bar, and get cash I need as change. Ergo: WHY drive clear down Georgia Avenue to the "Bank," to get money? Or, I could just drive to Edgefield, since they REFUSE to have a Bank anywhere between the DISTANT two! Thats a rhetorical question! NO response solicited nor expected.

harley_52
19544
Points
harley_52 02/12/14 - 11:23 am
1
2

My Personal Experience Has Convinced Me...

....that the overwhelming majority of PTSD cases are pure baloney.

Life's a batch, more so for some than others.

Life goes on.

corgimom
19267
Points
corgimom 02/12/14 - 11:29 am
0
3

Navy Gary, or what if he's a

Navy Gary, or what if he's a criminal defrauding the government?

corgimom
19267
Points
corgimom 02/12/14 - 11:30 am
0
3

Oh, and Navy Gary- it's not a

Oh, and Navy Gary- it's not a disease, it's a mental and emotional disorder.

grouse
1582
Points
grouse 02/12/14 - 11:30 am
0
0

If corporations are people,

Unpublished

If corporations are people, why isn't someone in jail?

rmwhitley
5081
Points
rmwhitley 02/12/14 - 11:50 am
0
0

My wife

Unpublished

and I are not wealthy, by any means but we were "forced" to discontinue doing the brunt of our banking with wells fargo. They made mistake after mistake, costing a substantial amount, before we decided to bank with our credit union. It now seems wells fargo misses our meager funds and "wants to make up" for past "mistakes". Will not happen but they did admit to their errors and returned our money. It only took them about eight months.

Bizkit
21934
Points
Bizkit 02/12/14 - 12:47 pm
1
1

I wager a good half the

I wager a good half the population experience violence and traumatic experiences that have lasting effects on their psyche. I could write a book on it. Lots of people experience abuse and torture-physical and psychological-by people who supposedly love them-a parent. Although we all are capable of monstrous acts some really have penchant for it. Those experiences can produce a lot of rage such the abused becomes an abuser which produces a legacy of violent behavior.

oldredneckman96
4472
Points
oldredneckman96 02/12/14 - 05:04 pm
0
2

Who robbed the Bank?

Unpublished

Andrew Nelson robs a Wells Fargo Bank. Judge Dudley H. Bowen does the standard thing for a defendant claiming poverty and mental disease, freezing his accounts for a set time. Wells Fargo does that for the time requested, read your bank statements, Februarys statement does not go from Feb. 1 to Feb 28. The judge does not know this so he fines the bank that was robbed? You got to love the courts, right? Nelson should walk and the judge should be jailed for bank robbery.

bdouglas
3507
Points
bdouglas 02/12/14 - 05:27 pm
1
0

Stranger than that.....Wells

Stranger than that.....Wells Fargo is the bank that the guy robbed, but took their precious time taking money from the guy's WELLS FARGO account to pay his bills.

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