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Wells Fargo fires four senior managers over fake account scandal

Wells Fargo has fired four former or current executives, the latest casualties arising from a scandal over bogus bank accounts, the financial giant announced Tuesday.

Wells Fargo's board is continuing its independent investigation of the scandal, which erupted last September when the bank entered into a $185 million settlement and enforcement action with regulators over sales practices that included staff opening accounts without customers' knowledge. More than 2 million unauthorized accounts were opened.

When the scandal first broke, Wells had said it had fired roughly 5,300 employees as a result of the scandal, the vast majority of them lower-level workers. The four will forfeit their 2016 bonuses, all unvested stock awards, and vested options.

The firings were in connection with the board of directors' "independent investigation", according to the announcement. Federal prosecutors are now considering criminal or civil charges against the company, the Labor Department is investigating whether it illegally fired employees who reported the wrongdoing and several cities and states, including California, have stopped doing business with the bank for now. But the bloodletting isn't done yet, as Wells has dismissed four additional executives without the PR-friendly spin of "retirement". As the community bank's chief risk officer, she had been in charge of the committee that in theory should have raised the alarm sooner to any questionable or illegal behavior. Arizona was an area disproportionately affected by the sales practices scandal. Notably, Freeman received promoted a year after the newspaper's 2013 investigation.

- Matthew Raphaelson, head of community bank strategy and initiatives. In that role, he would have been partially in charge of designing sales programs and new products.

Wells Fargo said on Tuesday the board's investigation was ongoing and was expected to be completed before the company's annual shareholder meeting in April.

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