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You may have lost money in your investment portfolio,
due to mismanagement and not even know it.

California bank under fire for ripping off thousands of customers

Banking giant Wells Fargo (one of America's largest financial institutions) operates scores of mutual funds.

Maybe you're invested in one or more of those vehicles -- without even knowing it.

That sounds improbable, maybe even impossible, right?

Before totally dismissing the thought, though, you might want to take a close look at your latest statement from the California bank. You could be unpleasantly surprised.

Thousands of other Wells Fargo customers were upon recently finding out that bank agents were unilaterally and surreptitiously opening up accounts in their names. Those consumers were completely in the dark concerning those accounts, many which accrued charges and related fees that were paid from other accounts held by those individuals.

By any measure, the ruse perpetrated upon the very people justifiably relying upon the bank's good faith was of a shocking magnitude.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called the scheme a "staggering fraud," which seems about right, given that approximately 5,300 employees in branches across the country opened up more than two million (yes, you read that right) fictitious accounts.

Evidence has emerged pointing to the bank's aggressive marketing culture as the primary culprit spurring so many employees to commit illegal acts. One former Wells Fargo banker stated in the wake of the story spotlighting the mass fraud that, "The sales pressure from management was unbearable."

However bad it was, it certainly did not justify duping a loyal customer base, which will undoubtedly erode significantly in the aftermath of the sordid details that have been revealed.

The bank has fired all of those 5,300 workers. Going forward, it will have to pay $185 million in fines and penalties and reimburse customers for all inappropriately levied charges.

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