New York prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into banking giant Wells Fargo, probing whether the company may have pursued discriminatory hiring practices by conducting sham interviews with female and minority applicants, The New York Times reported.
The Times reported on Thursday, citing two sources familiar with the probe, that federal investigators within a newly created civil rights office at the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office are investigating whether Wells Fargo violated federal laws prohibiting discrimination by conducting the alleged fake interviews.
The news follows a report from The New York Times last month in which a whistleblower said Wells Fargo held fake interviews with applicants it considered “diverse” for jobs that were already promised to other people. Following the article, the bank said it was pausing its hiring policy, which requires it to interview a diverse pool of candidates.
In 2020, the international banking company agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve allegations that it opened millions of accounts without customer consent in a push to expand its services. Amid the investigation, the Federal Reserve placed an asset cap on Wells Fargo in 2018 in order to limit its growth.