Wells Fargo agrees to $3 billion settlement over fake accounts

The U.S. Department of Justice and Wells Fargo have agreed to a $3 billion settlement that includes the bank admitting to wrongdoing.

A criminal investigation into the company's actions found that from 2002 to 2016 Wells Fargo pressured employees to meet unrealistic sales goals, which led to millions of accounts being created without consent from customers, a DOJ official told reporters on Friday.

Wells Fargo, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, will admit that, among other illegal practices, employees created false records and forged customers' signatures to open unauthorized checking and savings accounts, in some cases altering customers' personal information so they wouldn't be notified of changes to their accounts.

This settlement only pertains to the bank — no protections are extended to current or former employees or executives who may have been implicated in the scandal.

The $3 billion includes a $500 million civil penalty that will be distributed to investors by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wells Fargo in January reported a fourth-quarter net profit of $2.9 billion, down from $6.1 billion a year earlier.

For all of 2019, the bank reported a net profit of $19.5 billion.