Wells Fargo Fires Woman After Finding Out She Shoplifted 40 Years Ago

A woman in Milwaukee is paying for a crime she committed 40 years ago by losing her job. Wells Fargo found out during a background check that she had shoplifted in 1972, and subsequently fired her. She thinks she’s already paid her time for that crime, but Wells Fargo’s policies disagree.

WTMJ-4 in Milwaukee says Yolanda claims she’s a good employee, and has plenty of certificates and photos to show her five years of service to the company.

“[I'm] very good at what I do for Wells Fargo,” she says. “I think there’s more important things in life than something I did 40 years ago,”

But last week her supervisor walked her out of the door, because of a Wells Fargo policy.

“We are bound by federal law that generally prohibits us from hiring or continuing the employment of any person who we know has a criminal record involving dishonesty or breach of trust,” a spokesman for Wells Fargo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“I did do the crime and, you know, I had just come out of high school,” says Yolanda, noting that her job in phone customer service doesn’t involve her handling cash. She wants her job back, but her termination letter says she’s no longer eligible to work at the bank.

“I think I should get it back because it’s something I did 40 years ago,” she says. “I paid for it. I’ve changed my life.”

*Thanks for the tip, Daniel!

Wells Fargo fires employee for 1972 shoplifting conviction [TMJ-4 News]

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Was she a minor at the time?

    • Mighty914 says:

      Probably not, if she had just graduated high school.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        I was under 18 when I graduated and for a couple of months afterward, so it is possible if not as likely.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      If she was a minor at the time, it wouldn’t show up in the background check.

      • c_c says:

        Not true, necessarily. My wife got an underage drinking citation when she was 17; it still shows up on background checks so for certain applications she has to disclose it when asked the “have you ever been charge with …such and such?”. PITA.

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          It depends on the state and that state’s laws. In some states, 17 is an adult as far as the criminal justice system is concerned even though it’s 18 for all other reasons. If she was in one of those states (Texas for example), she was not considered to be a minor when committing a crime even though she might have been required to bring a parent to court to adjudicate the offense. All that depends on the particular state’s Code of Criminal Procedure.

          If the OP’s arrest for theft was handled within the juvenile justice system, it would not show up in the background check. If it was handled within the regular penal system, it would show up even though she might have been under 18.

    • lostdisk says:

      My mom actually works with the woman who this happened to, she was not a minor at the time (She was 18), and this will not be the only time this happens. Guess WF is checking out everyone now, and anyone who has a felony will be let go.

      • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

        And yet, those who suicided our economy with CDOs and sketchy mortgage schemes get to keep their jobs.

        Because they’re the jerb creee8orz, you know. Can’t punish THEM.

      • Mackinstyle1 says:

        Shoplifting is a felony in the U.S? Today I learned yet one more reason explaining why things are so socially damaged down there. ;)

    • breny says:

      These articles give a lot more info about the situation. No, she wasn’t a minor.

      http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/will-your-employer-dig-up-your-arrest-40-years-ago-0059578-150316185.html

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/yolanda-quesada-wells-fargo_n_1496273.html

      She didn’t lie on her application. It only asked about felonies.

  2. Mike says:

    Come on, there should be some kind of statute of limitations on things like this.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      It would probably the statue of limitations for lying on a corporate financial institution application regulated by the feds.

    • thomwithanh says:

      She’s well past the statute of limitations for legal action and it’s doubtful that it’s still on her official record (misdemeanors usually drop off after 25 years), but there are likely still court reports and police blotters mentioning the crime – these are public records that a background check or private investigator could find easily enough if they wanted to.

      • lostdisk says:

        Problem was, this was considered a felony… Felony’s don’t go away.

        • Northern Lights says:

          It was? I haven’t seen that anywhere, but if you’ve got a link that says otherwise I’d be interested in seeing it. This is what I found:

          “They found two shoplifting arrests, both from 1972. Quesada was 18. She admits she stole clothing from a Milwaukee department store on both occasions. The letter from First Advantage says she was fined $50 for the first, and placed on one year of probation for the second. [...] Quesada is not accused, at least in the termination letter, of lying to Wells Fargo about the offense when she first applied. She recalls being asked only if she had any felonies in her past.”

    • kobresia says:

      Statute of limitations only applies to the ability to prosecute a crime through the courts. In part, it’s presumably to keep people who have reformed on their own from being sent to prison decades later over relatively trivial crap from the distant past.

      She was convicted of shoplifting in a timely manner from when she committed the crime. It’s simply on her record, and I don’t think even petty crimes are expunged from someone’s adult criminal record unless a pardon is involved. It’s basically up to a prospective employer whether they consider the crime to be sufficiently trivial to hire someone despite it.

      It’s pretty obvious that banking peons are held to a rather high standard when it comes to even petty dishonesty & theft. But what about a preschool? Should a daycare program hire someone who has a “sex crime” such as indecent exposure on his/her criminal record, even if it was something dumb like urinating in public? It’s pretty dumb to make someone a sexual offender after pissing in a gutter, but if that employee does anything else remotely resembling child molestation, there tends to be bottomless outrage because they should’ve known better than to hire someone with a record.

    • selianth says:

      Interestingly, Massachusetts just debuted a new online system today that makes it easier and faster to do background checks but limits the time period to the last 10 years (except for murders and sex crimes which I believe have no limit). Screening companies could still use court records etc. but there are groups pressuring the state to either lower the price for those companies who ONLY rely on the official CORI system or completely bar them from it if they keep on using the other sources. This would be a deterrent because the new system is open directly to employers and landlords, and can get results in minutes, so they might not even need to use the screening companies.

      http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2012/05/07/access_limits_on_criminal_records/

    • TRRosen says:

      FDIC says 5 years for minor offenses.

  3. Lethe says:

    The spokesman said that they were “bound by federal law”. If this is true, why is this a wells-fargo-shaming piece? Seems pretty cut and dried.

    • Mike says:

      Note the wording they used. “We are bound by federal law that ‘generally’ prohibits.” Being married to an attorney I know lawyer speak when I see it. That “generally” thrown in there really makes it sound like they had some wiggle room and are now trying to blame government regulations in an attempt to make themselves look better.

      • mikedt says:

        I’m sure if they found out their CEO had a shoplifting charge in his background it would be overlooked.

        • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

          The chairman of Smith & Wesson was forced to step down in 2004 due to the fact that he’d done time for armed robbery 40+ years ago. So these things do sometimes bite the bigwigs, too.

          http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/27/news/smith_wesson/

          • dwtomek says:

            Except when it involves massive breaches of trust with the entire USA. In that case, they just get money.

        • Brontide says:

          But the regulation in question has two very big issues. First off it’s related to people with ownership or control in the dealing fo the bank. A non-exempt phone employee hardly would quality but you might be able to twist it to include all employees. Secondly the regulation has a de minimum clause which clearly would relate to a 40 year old petty theft ( presuming this was not felony shoplifting ).

      • Mighty914 says:

        Perhaps, but then what’s the conspiracy theory? They just wanted to get rid of a random employee?

        • MutantMonkey says:

          Could be any number of things that are not in the story. She could have farted in an elevator and the supervisor walked in as she walked out.

          The point is they used that indecent as a back pocket “Your Fired” card that they could use at whatever time they decided that may or may not have been linked to an actual discretion. Chances are pretty good the reasoning behind the firing was not a good one, otherwise they would have fired her for a specific, work-place incident.

    • ovalseven says:

      I might agree if they hadn’t hired her in the first place. If it’s that important, do the background check before she starts working there. Don’t wait 5 years.

      • Jane_Gage says:

        But if they don’t wait five years, she may not have started a family that she now gets to watch slowly starve to death!

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I’m guessing the definition of “dishonesty or breach of trust” isn’t totally black-and-white.

      • ThunderRoad says:

        Probably because the woman in the article is black …

      • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

        Actually, it appears (from the FDIC laws linked above by kosmo and below by me) that the grey area comes from the fact that the bank can apply for written consent to hire someone with a criminal background. So, it’s not an automatic “we can’t have anyone working here with such a conviction”, but more of a “we can’t have anyone working here with such a conviction unless the FDIC approves it ahead of time.”

        Note: IANAL, that’s just a layperson’s interpretation of the way the law is written.

        • StarKillerX says:

          I would imagine getting FDIC approval for anything would likely be an involved and time consuming action, and as such it’s probably not worth it to WF to try and do so for a phone rep, not to mention it would raise the issue of her already having worked there for 5 years.

          • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

            Oh, I agree. I was just clarifying that the possibility of FDIC permission is what probably prompted Wells Fargo Legal to say “generally prohibits” instead of just “prohibits”, since that seems to be a bone of contention on the board today.

            • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

              Right … they may have been using “generally” in an effort to be completely accurate instead of mostly accurate.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            I think if you asked the FDIC about this, they’d say “Why the fuck are you bothering us with this piddly bullshit?”

      • dilbert69 says:

        Stores don’t really place much trust in shoppers not to steal; that’s why they watch them. As for dishonesty, unless someone asked her, “Did you steal that?” and she said, “No,” not really. Also, it was 40 years ago. Bogus.

      • Jawaka says:

        Possibly but I don’t think that many people would argue that shoplifting wasn’t a form of dishonesty. Also, did she lie on her application and say that she never had a criminal record?

    • MutantMonkey says:

      “…that generally prohibits us…”

      The use of “generally” is a sticking point for me that indicates anyone can be fired at any moment for this type of thing, but when, is up to the discretion of the employer, which is just BS.

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      Here’s a link to the relevant FDIC regulation.

      http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/5000-1300.html

      I didn’t read the entire thing, but I wonder if the “generally” is because of this passage:

      “prohibits, without the prior written consent of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC),”

      In other words, in theory, the person could be kept on, but in practice, it’s probably difficult to get the approval of the FDIC.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Yeah, i doubt they would got to the trouble to get FDIC consent just for a phone rep, probably would be easier and cheaper to replace her.

        I mean yeah, it sucks to be her but with the problem identity theft has become would any of you want someone with a criminal record (even if it was many many years ago) able to access your financial records?

        • Anonymously says:

          Sure, doesn’t really bother me. I did some stupid (illegal) crap when I was about the same age, but I would never do it now, nor would I commit identity theft.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        She was caught twice while she was 18.. After reading the regulation she might have been ok had it been once (still paperwork but automatic approval).

  4. EccentricJeff says:

    Wow! Another company that cares about their employees.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      You mean the person who failed to note her arrest on her application? And yes, WF does ask about theft misdemeanors.

  5. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Where I’ve worked, these kinds of incidents usually aren’t a big deal in themselves when they’re declared up front. They become much more serious if they come up in a background check or via a 3rd party.

  6. Costner says:

    I happen to know they require you to disclose any such infractions on your employement application (which all financial institutions do). Thus she obviously failed to disclose it and/or blatantly lied.

    Either way the policy is clear and there is no statute of limitations on what a private employer can include in such a policy.

    Sorry Yolanda – maybe try getting a customer service job somewhere that isn’t a financial institution.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If she was a minor at the time, if I understand law correctly, she does not have to disclose it during a background check. Also sometimes, those disclosure documents said “within X years”

      Otherwise, I agree with you. Some companies don’t care the circumstances: if you did a crime, you aren’t employed by them. Others care about the mitigating circumstances such as how long ago it was. Having done a crime doesn’t guarantee you can’t have a good job, but it does make it very difficult.

    • LanMan04 says:

      So how the hell has see been working for Wells Fargo for FORTY years without this coming to light?

      And isn’t this ex post facto? Did this law even exist when she was hired?

      • CubeRat says:

        Well, she only worked there for 5 years according to the article. I don’t know if maybe she worked at one of the banks or other financial businesses that WF bought over the last several years.

        If she worked for a different company that was acquired by WF and now the WF background check has uncovered this conviction, then this would make a difference.

    • CubeRat says:

      WF also has an annual Ethics Policy training and all employees (and I believe contractors) are required to sign it. Violation of the Ethics policy can also lead to termination. She lied about being convicted of a crime, and continued to lie about it for 5 years. So the conviction from 40 years ago may have been OK, if she hadn’t lied on the employment application and every year on the Ethics forms.

      Phone bankers have a lot of access to customer personal info. Her ethics are one of things that would prevent her from stealing that info and selling it, and her conduct for the past five years proves that she doesn’t have any ethical qualms.

      • coffee100 says:

        > WF also has an annual Ethics Policy training and all employees (and I believe contractors) are required to sign it.

        LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLL

        Sorry.

    • Kestris says:

      If you are a minor at the time the crime took place and you were convicted of said crime, upon the age of 18, those records are sealed. You do not then have to reveal them, as they would have no bearing on your now adult record. And being sealed, they would be, theoreticly, unavailable to the general public or a potential employer.

      When you reach the age of 18, however, you can ask to have them expunged. Depending on the severity of the crime, most judges will be willing to do so.

      • Costner says:

        All valid info, but in her case she either was not a minor (she does admit it was after high school) and/or she never had her record expunged. Had she done so, it wouldn’t have appeared on a background check and thus this wouldn’t be newsworthy.

      • Clever_Innuendo says:

        That’s true, but it doesn’t mean it won’t come back to bite you in the ass later.

        When i was 12, I did something really stupid and I was arrested and charged. It was felony level theft. It was my first (and only) offense, so I did my community service and paid my restitution, and moved on with my life. I was told that since it was adjudicated, it wasn’t technically a “conviction”, and that since I was a minor, I wasn’t required to disclose it on job applications and the like.

        Fast forward eight years later. I was 20 at the time and I got a job at a financial institution. i did not lie on my application; I just didn’t disclose because I’m not required to. They finger print me and do a background check. A few days later, I was called into the office and told that I was being fired because something came back on my background check. Apparently, they did an FBI background check, and it was never sealed on that end, only on the state level. I told them i was 12 at the time it happened, but they didn’t care; they fired me anyway.

        I found out that this is remarkably common; the FBI often doesn’t do the changes to your record, and getting them to do it is a long process that doesn’t guarantee anything. I contacted an attorney who specializes in juvenile law and was told that he couldn’t do anything for me because it was already sealed at a state level.

        So, now I’m 23, I haven’t so much as gotten a speeding ticket since then. I’m in college, and making straight-A’s. I’m majoring in psychology and I want to do research at universities and at the NIH. I’m hoping that this doesn’t come back to bite me again once I’m seeking any employment and/or licensure. But I guess I’ll just have to find out when it comes to that; I can’t put my life on hold over something that happened a over a decade ago.

  7. TubbysHut says:

    “bound by federal law that generally prohibits” For a minor offense that happened 40 years ago… I think she falls outside of the bounds.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I think that’s reasonable; however, I doubt she disclosed the infraction on her original employment application. That’s likely a fire-able offense in itself.

      • theblackdog says:

        I would want to see the employment application. Does it specify that she has to name any crime, or felonies only? Is there a time limit such as “Within the last X years”?

        • lostdisk says:

          My mom works for WF, and I was able to see the application that needed to be filled out. It does ask for ANY felonies, and doesn’t specify for a given time.

    • bwcbwc says:

      She certainly seems to qualify under the “de minimus” requirements of the relevant FDIC regulation. The one area that might be a problem is whether she served more than 1 year in jail, or failed to mention it on her employment application (which could count as a new “dishonesty” offense, if the application is worded to comply with the FDIC regulation):

      (5) De minimis Offenses. Approval is automatically granted and an application will not be required where the covered offense is considered de minimis, because it meets all of the following criteria:

      • There is only one conviction or program entry of record for a covered offense;

      • The offense was punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or less and/or a fine of $1,000 or less, and the individual did not serve time in jail;

      • The conviction or program was entered at least five years prior to the date an application would otherwise be required; and

      • The offense did not involve an insured depository institution or insured credit union.

      A conviction or program entry of record based on the writing of a “bad” or insufficient funds check(s) shall be considered a de minimis offense under this provision even if it involved an insured depository institution or insured credit union if the following applies:

  8. Deeya says:

    The reputation/criminal/credit system in this country leaves very little room for recovery.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I thought the latest hr thinking only worried about the last 8 years of your life? But if this is federal law I guess Wellsfargo has to abide. Hopefully her supervisors liked her and her work enough for a job reference.

      I don’t want to pay government benefits to someone black balled because of a 40 year minor offense. She did turn her life around.

    • Frankz says:

      But there is all the room in the world for just not commiting the crime in the first place.

      • axhandler1 says:

        You commit crimes every day and don’t even realize you are doing it.

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          Obviously getting away with it or not getting caught are two important qualities in conformist America. My whole thing is why wasn’t this picked up during the hiring process. She did have convictions and could’ve lied which is a problem.

          Makes you think the government has been cracking down with new or existing financial institution employement law. She would’ve been hired right before the 2008 crash. How many others out there are in the corporate financial world with stuff like this.

          • axhandler1 says:

            I’m guessing that’s exactly what happened. She neglected to disclose this on her original application, either because she was purposefully lying or just didn’t think it was something she needed to disclose because it happened so long ago. Then, when WF did a routine background check and this turned up, they let her go for lying on her employment application. In which case it is entirely her fault. The point I was making is that with the legal system in this country, more people than ever before have arrest records now, and that can make trying to find a job difficult. More than 1/3 of US teenagers will have an arrest record by the time they are looking for a real job. That’s insane. Either the police need reform or the laws do.

        • partofme says:

          What crime did I commit yesterday? …I seem to recall that all I did was sit at home and work on a take-home exam… all freaking day.

          • axhandler1 says:

            Depends on what state you live in. And I was talking to Franz, a well know ne’er do well. Not you partofme. I know you’re a stand-up guy.

      • Deeya says:

        Crimes happen all the time, and shop lifting one time 40 years ago shouldn’t brand someone a criminal for life. It could even happen to you without intent, I once left a pack of socks in my shopping cart at a local big-bog store, started putting bags into the cart and covered them up, and when leaving, was stopped by the commando store security. I explained the honest mistake, offered to immediately pay for the merchandise, however, they called the cops. After waiting for about 30 minutes, the cops decided the store was being unreasonable, I paid and left. However, the cop said, had I made it out of the store and then been discovered, they would be obligated to charge me.

    • Kisses4Katie says:

      I agree completely. People can change, situations and circumstances change, and the most unfair thing in my opinion is that an arrest can stay on your record even if you were proven innocent of any crime.

      • Jawaka says:

        Sure people change but when there’s so many people looking for a job why should an employer want to take a chance with a person who might be rehabilitated over a person without a criminal record at all?

  9. yossi says:

    Did she lie on her employment application about not having any arrests/convictions? if so, you are outta here!

    • ovalseven says:

      If she was fired for lying on her application, why wouldn’t Wells Fargo just say so? It would save them some bad PR.

      Also consider that some job applications only ask if you’ve been convicted of a felony.

      • raybury says:

        Wells Fargo may have said so. The TMJ piece is brief and one-sided, not even exploring the federal requirements while giving credence to the “no cash” b.s.

        Most jobs I’ve applied for ask if one has ever been convicted of a felony, which IIRC (IANAL) one can only say “no” to if the record is expunged, someone with due power has exonerated or pardoned one, or one has not been convicted of a felony is which case one does not need to know too much about the other circumstances.

  10. Cat says:

    I’ll bet she wasn’t fired because of the shoplifting charge… but because she neglected to inform them of it when she applied.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      she was hired 5 years ago. It seems like they didn’t care for a long time.

      • homehome says:

        That’s irrelevant, every app I filled out for a financial institution states on it that knowingly (which she did) leaving out or lying about information is a fireable offense, no matter if they find out the next day or the next decade. They are very strict about that in the financial industry. That is very clearly stated on there, so she has no leg to stand on because it is at that private company’s descretion.

    • DemosCat says:

      DING! Yes, I was going to make the same point, but you beat me to it. I don’t think the problem was the arrest per se, but the lack of reporting it.

      We had a similar incident happen where I work. Well qualified new person was hired. She was great, actually knew her stuff (no resume inflation), and was fitting in well. Then the background check came back with a hit. Apparently she was arrested for some minor thing by campus police, some stunt she found too embarrassing to admit on her application form when it asked, “Have you ever been arrested….”

      Our boss did not want to lose her, and tried to appeal to upper management, that yes, it happened, but was so long ago and so minor that surely this could be overlooked. Nope, policy was policy — if you are found to have lied on the application form, you are fired, period. He had no choice but to walk her out. We lost a good employee.

      Sadly, if she had reported the arrest, chances are after a review it would not have been a problem.

  11. AtlantaCPA says:

    WF has some overly crazy policies (this sounds like one of them). A friend of mine is Power of Attourney for his ailing grandfather and they won’t accept it since he once had a charged off NSF fee on a checking account with them 20 years ago (that he actually paid them for once he found out but they still won’t deal with him). They just refuse to talk to him even though legally he “is” is grandfather in this case.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      That… doesn’t sound legal. If a party has power of attorney, I don’t think any entities that they have business with can just stick their fingers in their ears and say “LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING.” Seems like Power of Attorney would be pretty useless if that were the case.

    • Thalia says:

      Executive carpet bomb time. That, or bring in the lawyers.

      A valid power of attorney cannot be disregarded because you don’t like the person, or you don’t trust the person. You can challenge it in court, if you believe it’s invalid. You do not get to just ignore it.

  12. u1itn0w2day says:

    What was this particular background check for? A routine update?

    Also alot of companies have you fill out paper work before they do a background check on you after your employed. Did she not see this coming?

    I think a 40 year shop lifting charge shouldn’t be a disqualifier but until that is spelled out I guess she stuck without a job at Wellsfargo anyway.

  13. Cat says:

    She can come work here! They hire felons right out of prison – then wonder why laptops end up missing.

  14. Frankz says:

    Was the question of prior criminal charges or arrest covered in the employment application to Wells Fargo? Being a bank and so much access to money and financial records, I probably was. Which means she probably lied on her application.

  15. AldisCabango says:

    If she lied on her employment application they she deserves to be fired. If she was honest on her application, and Well Fargo hired her anyways she deserves her job back.

    • coffee100 says:

      So the banks are now going to lecture us all on honesty and how it’s wrong to steal.

  16. necrosis says:

    1) Did she lie on her employment application? I do not know about banking places but everywhere I have applied has a line “Have you been convicted of a felony in the last X (usually 5) years”.

    2) Why is there no statute of limitations on this? If the company is so lazy they did not do a check till 5 years after hiring her and then find this they should not be allowed to do anything about it. Especially when the infraction was 40 years ago.

  17. savdavid says:

    Who would want to work for a bank anyway? They are criminals themselves. The banks should be the ones in jail.

  18. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    From the FDIC website: “Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1829) prohibits, without the prior written consent of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), a person convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust or money laundering (covered offenses)” (from http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/5000-1300.html )

    Now, IANAL, but it seems that Wells Fargo could have applied to the FDIC to get consent to hire this woman, especially given the length of time since her conviction, had she disclosed it up front. They may not have chosen to do so, but they could have.

    But now, she’s not only been found guilty of having a criminal record, but also of lying about it. I don’t blame Wells Fargo in the least for firing her.

  19. Omali says:

    Raises the question:

    1.) Did she lie on the application? I can’t even apply to the Tops down the street without having to answer “have you ever been arrested for shoplifting?” I find it hard to believe Wells Fargo would either neglect to ask on the application or
    2.) Why didn’t Wells Fargo find this when she was initially hired? Did the original background check not return this?

    It is clearly an issue on both sides, but more so on the woman for not disclosing it.

    A person on the comments in the news article (former WF employee, take this with grain of salt) said around 500 people have been fired in a sweeping background check initiative that started in February. There’s no way to verify what the guy said, but if what he said is true Wells Fargo really needs to improve their initial background checks.

  20. Talmonis says:

    Isn’t it amazing how quickly one’s life can become insolvent. What’s that? You did something stupid in your teen years (yes, people 18-20 are still balls of hormonal immaturity)? Unemployed for life. So, just how are people supposed to rehabilitate and reintigrate with society after “serving their time”? People wonder why there is such a high rate of recidivism in this country? This is why.

    Some of you may think that one and done (for life) is “justice”. I say you’re wrong. There is no good reason that one mistake in a civilized society should kill your chances to be a productive member of society. Credit history, criminal record (non-repeat offenders) or having a social life outside of work, should not make you unemployable.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      That isn’t really the issue. First, this is a financial institution and there are many reasons why they must hire employees who have no criminal record.

      Second, especially right now in this economy, there are plenty of people looking for work who have no criminal record. Everything else being equal, there is no reason for an employer to consider hiring someone with a criminal record when there are other applicants with no criminal record.

      If you want to hire people with criminal records for your privately-owned business, go right ahead. No one is stopping you. Good luck. But blaming recidivism on anyone but the criminal is a red herring. No one forces anyone into crime by not hiring them.

      • Talmonis says:

        “No one forces anyone into crime by not hiring them”. Really? Because that’s exactly what happens. Tell me, if some day you lose your job for (insert reason here) and are then blacklisted to all other employers, because that economy’s employers don’t like (insert reason here), how do you plan on surviving? Do you plan on “Bootstrapping” yourself into magic money? Perhaps “start your own business”? Oh wait, that takes money, permits and other such barriers to entry… hmm.. Oh, I know, Social programs! Wait wait…those are evil “socialism”, and those who use them are lazy…hmm… Well, I guess the only option is to beg on the street or quietly starve. No wait, there’s also that whole “crime” thing. You know, the one where if you don’t get caught, you pay your bills and stay alive, or if you DO get caught, you get 3 meals a day and a place to sleep. Decisions decisions.

        I don’t know about you, but when it’s between homelessness, and a slow descent into madness, or non-violent crime? I’ll take the non-violent crime every time. And so would most people, whether they want to admit it or not.

        • kobresia says:

          If someone has shaky morals and is willing to commit a crime if s/he thinks it’s justified (“need the money”, “can’t get a legit job”) then would you want them handling YOUR sensitive information?

          What if they just happen to be coming-up short on the rent this month because their evil employer doesn’t pay them enough? Maybe they have enough access to your info to commit a little fraudulent charge or two against your credit card, or “borrow” your identity to obtain a credit card that they will pay back when they do get the money.

          Even though the CSRs probably don’t generally have enough access to the customers’ info to do this sort of thing, some do.

          Sorry, but there’s such a thing as just getting an entry-level job, getting a small apartment, even and not being a criminal to make ends meet. Somehow, people who lose nearly everything do manage to get back on-track without stealing from others, peddling (or manufacturing) illegal drugs, and other assorted criminal activity. Rationalizing that it’s okay to be a professional criminal to keep a house, pay the bills, pay for cancer treatment, and avoid working a shitty, entry-level job only betrays an overblown sense of entitlement in addition to having shaky morals.

      • Jane_Gage says:

        If there are unemployed people who can’t find a job then it’s pretty much hopeless for someone like Y to get a job. An employer could specifically hire ex-criminals intentionally, but then they’re taking on an unequal amount of liability. For petty crimes the record should expunge after five years, similar to Germany.

    • Darnitol says:

      Yes Talmonis, I’ve said my whole adult life: I would hate to be judged today for the stupid kid I was decades ago.

      Yeah, she may have lied on the application. So would any of you if you knew that you were a changed person and that telling the truth would prevent you from EVER living down the mistakes of your youth. Dr. King said, “…one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” This law is unjust. I hope she becomes the Rosa Parks of our day. Our society can’t improve until we admit our flaws. Our refusal to ALLOW mistakes to be corrected is a societal flaw that lets us point a finger at the “other” and feel superior.

      How many of us never committed a crime—never exceeded the speed limit; never failed to return to a store that accidentally gave us too much change; never drove past the scene of an auto accident without stopping to confirm that everyone was okay? We’ve all broken the law, both intentionally and unintentionally. But those of us who never got caught have a tendency to point the finger most vociferously at the ones who did, proclaiming our own perfection.

      This law and the policies that arise from it are what need to change now, because Yolanda already did.

      • Talmonis says:

        Indeed, but that might hurt the private prison industry. And we just can’t have that.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      What’s really ironic is that I’m an atheist and would probably give someone a second shot, but 99% of this country are Christians, Jews, and Muslims who think Y deserves the scarlet letter for life.

  21. nikalseyn says:

    Everyone with children need to tell them early on that the mistakes you make when young will affect your life in the future—usually not for the good. There is no mention of what this lady does for Wells Fargo. Teller? Working in the vault? In any event, good for Wells Fargo. At least they have some standards. Think I will buy some of their stock.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I think it’s customer service in a call center. She would have access to customer records. I guess the point comes down to lying or omitting that offense on the application.

      Alot of job application will actaully spellout the time period for prior criminal convictions. I guess the phrase ” Have you EVER been convicted of a felony offense etc? is what got this women. If the application said list all offenses over the last 10 years she should be in the clear.

      • Starrion says:

        Which is hysterical since a lot of these companies are outsourcing the call centers to regions of the world where the criminal justice systems are barely functional.

        This woman who has kept a clean record for 40 years, is probably a lot less likely to sell off personal information to the highest bidder than some one making .75 an hour.

      • ovalseven says:

        If her application only asked if she was convicted of a felony, she did nothing wrong. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      Per the article, she works in customer service and doesn’t work with cash. So, not a teller or in the vaults. It seems likely she worked in a call center. Of course, that means that she has access to account numbers and all sorts of personal data (which is theoretically easier to take than swiping money from a cash drawer in a branch, thanks to the security cameras at most banks).

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Nobody is perfect but this should be used as one example of why you want to stay away from crime no matter how minor or trivial you think it is.

      Different but similar topic. I’ve heard stories of many local and federal law enforcement agencies having trouble finding applicants that haven’t used illegal drugs or used them under four times as an adult. I’ve read articles where some agencies and departments want to raise the number illegal drug uses from none to four all the way upto 15 or so to get applicants through the process.

      Is that just having someone who not only used illegal substances on several occassions as an adult but also committed illegal transactions to obtain them. In many cases the same kind of transactions they will arresting people for.

      Crime IS BAD pure and simple and should be frowned up-alot. And there are consequences pure and simple. Especially in this day & age of computerized records.

  22. kobresia says:

    Having applied to work many, many years ago at Loomis Fargo as an armored car driver, I found the interview process to be a bit nuts. Everyone in the office, even the desk workers, were all wearing sidearms (the supervisors all wore shoulder holsters), it was almost like a private police station. I guess that’s what the company was in its early days of protecting gold shipments and being corporate mercenary police.

    A polygraph examination was also part of the interview, and they did ask stuff such as if I’d ever stolen office supplies from an employer, shoplifted, committed any crimes that I had failed to disclose on my application, and that sort of thing.

    I think this woman deserved to be fired. Even if the armored car personnel interviews were a bit more stringent, even if she was a desk worker CSR, she probably lied on the application when she swore she hadn’t committed thefts and such. Past moral turpitude compounded by lying about committing it SHOULD disqualify her from working with other people’s money. While she may have no ability to embezzle or mishandle folks’ money in a CSR job, that’s not to say that she couldn’t transfer or be promoted to another job in which she did handle cash.

    I just wonder why the shoplifting didn’t come up in a pre-employment background check. I also wonder why anyone would subject themselves to all the crap involved with working for companies in this sector. As far as the armored car folks and tellers go, the pay is absolute rubbish and they’re subjected to lots of invasive investigative crap on an ongoing basis.

    I just skipped the second interview in which I would’ve driven one of the armored cars around the block and probably gotten the job offer. One of the supervisors mentioning that the trucks weren’t air conditioned and that of course the windows weren’t permitted to be rolled-down might’ve had something to do with that, considering it was summer. It might’ve been a cool job being a pseudo-policeman driving an armored vehicle around for a company with a fine tradition, but not for just over half the pay of what most other local trucking jobs would pay someone with a CDL driving a straight truck driving hazardous cargo, and with the way they had to be concerned with the money handling, that’s exactly what all the cash was.

  23. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Five years?! Either they were looking for an excuse to can her, or, they let unqualified people have access for years before they check them. There may be other possibilities but this doesn’t look good.

    It makes me wonder about all the mufti-million dollar corruption in these banks and they worry about a 40 year old petty theft. So many of the suits at the top deserve to spend decades in prison and yet…

  24. NorthJersey says:

    Sorry, I’m a heartless SOB in this case. She’s a convicted crook. Paying a fine, doing community service or time in prison isn’t the end of it. Part of the punishment is having a criminal record that will follow you for life (or until it’s expunged, which IMHO should never happen). It’s what happens when you break the law. Don’t break the law and you won’t have a problem.

    How many honest life long law-abiding people out there can’t find work in this day and age and we’re supposed to be worried about a felon getting fired from a bank? Sorry, the sympathy-o-meter is reading a big fat zero.

  25. Jane_Gage says:

    Yolonda was found to be carrying six pens on cut leashes on her way out the door.

  26. FangDoc says:

    I knew this guy Jean who stole a loaf of bread and had to change his name to keep this crazy obsessed cop from following him around all the time. When that all came out, he lost his job as mayor and had to leave town with his adopted daughter. I’m not sure when all the singing started, though…

  27. Nonbuyer says:

    I was all prepared to hate on the bank, but I went on their website to check out their application process, and I really can’t hate on them. In their application they ask, “6. Have you ever been convicted* of any crime involving dishonesty; breach of trust; fraud; theft; money laundering; or illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of, or trafficking in controlled substance?”

    It further states:

    *For crimes involving dishonesty or breach of trust, “convicted” includes a plea of guilty, nolo contendre, no contest, or similar plea, participation in a pretrial diversion or deferred entry of judgment program even if the program was completed and charges were dismissed, bail forfeiture, or verdict or finding of guilt, with respect to either a felony or misdemeanor. You may omit juvenile court convictions and completely expunged convictions. For all other crimes, the definition of “conviction” is the same, except it does not include participation in a pretrial diversion or deferred entry of judgment program if charges were ultimately dismissed.

    She doesn’t say that her conviction was expunged, and she was 18 when it happened. So yeah, Wells Fargo was pretty clear, and she lied on the application.

  28. Buckus says:

    And this is why “reforming” criminals will never work. Because when they get out, nobody will hire them, so they go back to crime.

  29. feistydonut says:

    I don’t think this is the main reason she was fired. They were looking to cut either their workforce or her specifically. This was 40 years ago and she was just out of high school which would make her close to 60, so either they were looking at some kind of retirement pay or trying to get rid of workers who were close to leaving soon anyway.

    • balderdashed says:

      If her age was the real reason she was fired and the 40-year-old conviction was a pretext, she has a case for age discrimination. Otherwise, she really has no case at it. Employment is “at will” in Wisconsin as in most states, which means that unless there’s a contract that says otherwise, she can be fired at any time for any reason — or no reason at all.

  30. teke367 says:

    Shoplifting is one of those crimes where banks can’t hire you usually. I don’t know if there is a statute of limitations, and the bank is probably being overly cautious.

    They should have done a background check when they hired her though.

  31. FashionablyDoomed says:

    This exact thing happened at the call centre I worked at. The recruiting manager allowed people with really old fraud/theft/assault charges through the door, because the policy was quite lenient. These people rose up in the company to become supervisors and department specialists. They were good people who did excellent work.

    But one day, 5 years after some of these people were hired, the client (one of the biggest telecommunication providers in the US) decided to tighten up those policies, and force everyone already working for the company to undergo another background check. We lost almost 30 people (talk about a blow to employee morale). These people had mostly been 100% upfront about their transgressions, but it didn’t matter, because the new policy was black and white. 2 of the employees were in the 45-60 age group, and had gotten charged with assault in the early 70′s when they were quite young.

    The one thing HR made clear to us was that people with drug charges were safe. I still find that laughable. It’s okay to hire someone charged with trafficking, or possession, even if it was just yesterday, but not if he got a bit drunk at 18 and punched someone 30 years ago.

  32. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    this 60 year old is obviously the next great threat to our way of life and profit.

  33. deadandy says:

    I surprised a conviction this old even showed up on a background check. A lot of jurisdictions stop reporting misdemeanors after seven years. Or, you can have them expunged after a certain amount of time. She should find out about that. A bit late now, but it will help her avoid problems in the future.

  34. borgia says:

    And you can get anything you want… at Alice’s restaurant.

  35. Mike says:

    Shouldn’t they fire their entire mortgage business?

  36. Kestris says:

    If she was under 18 when the crime was commited, then the records should have been sealed. She could now ask that the record be expunged.

    • thomwithanh says:

      No, that’s only if she was tried as a minor. If she was tried as an adult, the records are valid and not seal-able based on age.

  37. msky says:

    I dont get it. Its a company policy and she breached it. So whats the problem?

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      Those of us with empathy get upset when we see people treated like this.

      BTW, have you considered a career in HR or banking?

  38. baristabrawl says:

    But if she stole $10 from you, you’d say, “Why didn’t they catch her?” Lose/lose.

  39. etbrown4 says:

    as a former chairman of another nationally chartered bank, I can assure you that there is no such federal law applicable to a customer service person.

  40. njack says:

    It doesn’t matter why they fired her. Wisconsin is an at-will employment state.

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      I prefer to use “at-will”‘s more common abbreviation: F.U.

      Or NAMBLA.

  41. framitz says:

    Failure to disclose = you are FIRED.

    Just as it should be and just as it should be for the Yahoo clown.

  42. bellabell says:

    there should be a sol on these background checks – 10 years from completion of sentence.

    40 years is way too long to hold something like this against you.

    and just because you did something even 10 years ago does not mean you would do it now.

    on the flip side just because you seem to have been good doesn’t make it so – jsut means you haven’t been caught… het

  43. captainproton says:

    I do not think that this is about a crime committed 40 years ago, but rather they wanted to fire an older worker.

  44. llevar says:

    omg this is insane. she just got out of high school. most people do silly stuff around that age, weed, shop lift, underage drinking etc. this is crazy plus that happened over 40 years ago and she is not even dealing with money. how dare they fire her now after working years with the company. she should sue them for not doing a thorough background check!!

  45. Kuri says:

    Part of me thinks this isn’t about a mistake made 4 decades ago and more about them looking for a reason to hand her wlaking papers.

  46. Lisa W says:

    Hi, Lisa W. here from Wells Fargo. We certainly understand how this might invoke some of the negative reactions we have seen as a result of this story. As you can imagine, we don’t take these decisions lightly. However, there are probably some things you should be aware of. Because Wells Fargo is an insured depository institution, we are bound by Federal law (specifically, Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act) that generally prohibits us from hiring or continuing the employment of any person who we know has a criminal record involving dishonesty or breach of trust– regardless of when the incidents occurred. This includes criminal records that are discovered through the fingerprint-based rescreening. A financial institution’s violation of Section 19 can result in a fine of up to $1,000,000 per day, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.

    Since Ms. Quesada has the incident on her record, she can dispute the accuracy of the information we receive and appeal her termination if she believes a mistake has been made. She can apply to the FDIC for written permission to work at a financial institution despite the existence of the disqualifying conviction.

    So, why did we just discover this? Well, due to legal requirements and changes in the regulatory environment, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has been performing a thorough background check on all mortgage team members that includes a fingerprint check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on existing employees since last year.

    While this might not change your mind about how you feel about banks, we hope it at least provides you with additional information on why we had to do what we did.

    • TRRosen says:

      Maybe you should actually read the law Lisa It clearly states that if it was a minor offense that occurred more then 5 years before the hiring there is no need to apply for permission it is automatically granted. There was no need for Wells Fargo to fire this woman. Her employment did not violate the FDIC regulations.

  47. Press1forDialTone says:

    Lisa,

    You would not have found this ancient item in the employee’s record unless
    -your- company had not been found out to be guilty of much more recent
    and unconscionable business practices. It is easy for you to spin this
    further evidence of your company’s heartless criminality by “blaming” your
    own punishment by the US government for -your- company’s behavior and
    I expect nothing less. Wells Fargo like so many other financial entities are
    all scum. Your actions speak so loudly to your hapless customers to abandon
    your services and switch to a member-owned credit union. The tide is slowly
    turning. Better get your resume updated before they find a way to fire you.

  48. trencherman says:

    I used to work for a state government agency, where most non-violent crimes would not prevent you from being hired. A couple years ago, a policy was put in to place that you had to proclaim ANY crime–and if you failed to do so, they could fire you. My particular agency was in a panic that people would face mandatory termination for something minor (like this case). To my knowledge, no one got fired. A lot of people did come forward to report ancient cases of minor stuff like traffic tickets.

  49. Pete the Geek says:

    Perhaps this will give the news media a reason to take a very thorough look at the backgrounds and resumes of every Wells Fargo executive. I wonder if there will be any unsealed juvenile shoplifting convictions uncovered? Actually, it would be interesting to see what kind of crimes WF will ignore.

  50. oldthor says:

    This is interesting. All the big wig bank executives who were responsible for fleecing most of America and bringing our economy to the brink of collapse were promoted and given large bonuses . To make matter worse not one executive has been jailed as of yet. Yet, they look into the ancient history of an employee and fire her for a 40 year shoplifting pinch? It just never stops with these bums

  51. Trickydix says:

    This the beginning of the end for all valueless personnel according to the banks, Wells-NO-go, Bastards of America and shitty group are all going to pull crap like this, replace people with automation, more money less overhead.

  52. robertsgt40 says:

    “We are bound by federal law that generally prohibits us from hiring or continuing the employment of any person who we know has a criminal record involving dishonesty or breach of trust,” —-What about the billions WF has screwed homeowners out of?

  53. sendbillmoney says:

    Die she lie during the application process? Bye.

  54. FLConsumer says:

    I’d rather hire her with 40 clean years rather than someone fresh out of college without a record.

  55. hahatanka says:

    Most states allow to apply for expungement a certain number of years after the end of your sentence, provided you haven’t broken any more laws. I don’t about her state, but here it’s 5 years. Just today, I helped a friend apply as he has a 1986 drug arrest on his record. I filled out the papers for him. He paid the Court Clerk $119 and he should get the good news in 6-8 weeks. If you have a felony, no matter how old or small get it off your record. never know when it will come back to haunt you.

  56. Just Ducky says:

    This makes me glad I left Wells Fargo over eight months ago. I think they were wrong to fire her.

  57. TRRosen says:

    from FDIC site:
    “(5) De minimis Offenses. Approval is automatically granted and an application will not be required where the covered offense is considered de minimis, because it meets all of the following criteria:

    • There is only one conviction or program entry of record for a covered offense;

    • The offense was punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or less and/or a fine of $1,000 or less, and the individual did not serve time in jail;

    • The conviction or program was entered at least five years prior to the date an application would otherwise be required; and

    • The offense did not involve an insured depository institution or insured credit union.

    FDIC says she’s a OK. No need to apply for approval it is automatically granted if its a minor offense more then five years ago.

    Wells fargo lied. Big surprise.