Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wells Fargo Fraudulently Opened 2-Accounts In My Name and Allowed Them To Remain Open For 4-Years,Costing Me Nearly $300,000

Wells Fargo Bank violated federal requirements and their own bank policy, when they opened two DBA business checking accounts in my name and the name of my business, for Kier Property Management in Ogden, Utah.  

At the time the accounts were created, Wells Fargo failed to obtain copies of any of the federally required supporting documents, which are mandatory when opening business accounts.  
i.e. A Fictitious Name Certificate;  A Certificate of Assumed Name;  A copy of the Business License.

Wells Fargo covered up the fraudulent creation of these accounts, and allowed them to remain open for 4-years without ever notifying me, as the primary account holder, of their fraudulent status, while Kier Property Management in Ogden, Utah, misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars in phony management, maintenance, and repair charges, for work that they never did. 

The video below details what the federal requirements are for opening DBA business checking accounts. The video also details what Wells Fargo Bank requires in order to open business accounts, using images taken directly from the Wells website.

This video documents what the federal requirements are for opening DBA business checking accounts in Utah.  It also shows what Wells Fargo requires, with images taken from their own
 website.  The video also documents damages my property sustained, due to Kier's abuse, neglect, and mismanagement of the property.

Wells Fargo Bank does not believe that their crime played a role in enabling 
Kier Management's misappropriation of tens of thousands of dollars in phony management, maintenance, and repair charges, or in their near destruction of my building....
 How obtuse

In November 2005, I purchased a 100-year old, historic landmark apartment building in Ogden, Utah, as an investment for my retirement.  At the time, I contracted Kier Property Management and Real Estate, to manage and maintain the property, in part because of their reputation in Ogden, and because they had owned the property for the 18-years before I did. Kier Construction (a subsidiary of Kier Management) had also done a major rehab on the property, and Kier was still managing the property when I bought it.

Because I was an out of state owner, Kier required me to give them complete financial control over the building and its finances, including giving them permission to open two checking accounts, which Kier would use to pay the monthly bills and expenses for the building, which included the mortgage, insurance, property taxes, utilities, as well as various vendors and sub-contractors, for services rendered.

The first account, was to be used as the building's primary checking account, into which deposits were to be made that included the monthly rents collected from the tenants, and payments from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, for housing assistance payments due under the Moderate Rehabilitation Housing Assistance Payments Program, which is administered by the Ogden Housing Authority.  

The second account was to be an interest bearing checking account, in which tenant Security Deposits were to be held.

On December 8, 2005, Business Accounts Manager, James Urie, at the South Ogden branch of Wells Fargo Bank, opened two DBA Business Checking accounts, in my name and the name of my business, (Peery Apartments), for Kier Property Management.
WFB Account No's:   7808022946    and    2883174910.

In order to open business accounts of this type in Utah, federal regulations require proof of a DBA filing/Fictitious Name Certificate, a Certificate of Assumed Name, or the Business License, and copies of those documents must be kept on file with the bank.  

At the time these accounts were created, Wells Fargo failed to require Kier Management to provide copies of any of these documents, or proof that a DBA had even been filed with the state, yet they approved the account creation. 

Wells Fargo opened these accounts illegally for Kier Management, and allowed them to remain open for 4-years, without ever notifying me as the primary account holder, that the accounts were opened in violation of federal requirements and were not in good standing.  Wells Fargo's crime also caused a branch of the United States Government (HUD), to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars over 4-years, to a business that didn't legally exist.  In most circles since 9/11 , that is defined as "money laundering".         More from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

This animation details the likely course of events leading up to the
 fraudulent creation of these accounts for Kier Management in 2005

On November 30, 2009, my contract with Kier Management was terminated at their request, because I refused to pay them an additional $16,000 for allegedly unpaid services, until they could provide me with a full accounting, and a reasonable explanation as to why they had obviously breached the terms of our contract, for a period of time long enough to accrue this alleged shortfall, without notifying me, as was required by our contract.  (estimated time  at least 1-year)

Rather than providing me with an accounting and explanation as requested, Kier Management wrote 3-checks to themselves on the building's accounts, from gaps they routinely maintained in the check numbering sequence. The 3-checks, totaling nearly $7,000, were presented to Wells Fargo Bank for payment, by Kier Management, on the day before the bank closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the subsequent termination of our contract on the following Monday, effectively draining the building's accounts of funds that were previously earmarked to pay the utility bills and property taxes.

Although Kier Management had never before written so many checks to themselves, for such high dollar amounts, nor presented so many high dollar amount checks for payment on the same day, Wells Fargo did not view this activity as "strange" or "unusual", and ultimately denied my claim for this unauthorized and fraudulent activity

Fraud Prevention, or Just Plain Fraud?

In stark contrast to the above:

When I am at home in California, and I buy gasoline and groceries on the same day using my Wells Fargo Bank Cards, regardless of the dollar amount, Wells Fargo will routinely freeze my cards and accounts, and decline all further purchase attempts, citing "Fraud Prevention"

What's worse, if I travel to Utah, where my business is located, and where the address on the checks is, Wells Fargo will habitually wait until I've spent several hundred dollars on gasoline and food, across 4-states during the trip, before freezing the accounts and declining all attempted purchases made with my bank cards, again citing "Fraud Prevention"

In both scenarios, I have repeatedly begged, pleaded, and screamed my way through an army of Wells Fargo Supervisors, who can't seem to stop this from happening, over and over and over again, blaming their risk models for fraud prevention as the reason this keeps happening. 

Here's a model for preventing fraud... 
Try not opening business accounts illegally,
and pay attention when unusual activity takes place in your bank.

After the termination of our contract, Kier Management continued to generate checks on the building's bank accounts, without authorization.  To stop this activity, and prevent further theft from the building's accounts, I went into the Ogden Main branch of Wells Fargo Bank, to close the existing accounts and open replacement accounts, that Kier Management employees would no longer have access to. 

Wells Fargo, Branch Manager, Ryan Olsen closed the existing accounts as I requested, but in the process of opening their replacements, he suddenly informed me that Wells Fargo would not be able to open the replacement accounts, because none of the federally required supporting documentation had been provided to the bank when the accounts were originally created for Kier Management.

Olsen's statement came as quite a shock.  Evidently, when Wells Fargo opened the accounts for Kier Management, they failed to require Kier to provide copies of the required supporting documents, such as proof of a DBA filing, which is mandatory before a bank can legally open business accounts. 

Upon attempting to register the DBA with the Utah Department of Corporations myself, I discovered that the reason Kier failed to provide the bank with copies of the DBA filing, prior to these accounts being opened, is because they never bothered to file one. Kier's CFO and Company Controller, Gordon Nielsen, later confirmed that Kier did not file a DBA
, in an email to me.
 (at left).  
                             click on any image to enlarge it  

Nielsen, who is a Certified Public Accountant, and should be better informed than most on this topic, further defines his knowledge of the documentation required in order to open business checking accounts, in another email to me  (at right). With Nielsen in charge of their finances, it's a miracle that the Kier Corporation is not bankrupt.  

Unfortunately, what I also discovered that day, was that another company in Salt Lake City, had registered the name "Peery Apartments", in March 2009 . . . just 8-months before I learned of this latest Kier Property Management debacle.

Due to Kier's negligence, I had now lost the name, "Peery Apartments" which was the name the building had operated under for the previous 99-years; the name the tenants had been putting on their rent checks for decades; the name I had spent countless hours over 4-years on branding; and the same name that the building had been marketed to me under, as a valuable, and significant historic landmark. . . Now lost to me, d
ue in large part to Wells Fargo's crime.

The negligence, in allowing these accounts to be opened in 2005, under a DBA that didn't even exist until 2009, is an embarrassment of epic proportions for Wells Fargo Bank, but failing to close the accounts, or notify me, as the primary account holder, that these accounts were opened in violation of federal requirements, are unforgivable mistakes, that enabled Kier Management to misappropriate funds from the building's accounts virtually undetected, for the entire time they were under contract to me. 

Had Wells Fargo Bank simply followed federal banking guidelines, and/or their own bank policy, with regard to the creation and maintenance of these accounts, they would have either been closed, or not opened at all.  In either scenario, I would have discovered Kier's breaches of our contract, their misappropriation of funds, and their failure to maintain my property by any known standard of care, 4-years sooner than I did. . . .

But that would have required the integrity and honesty of Wells Fargo Bank
.  .  .  .  .  .  .

Unable to accept the fact that my trust had been so egregiously betrayed by Wells Fargo, I decided to conduct my own investigation into how this banking disaster could have happened in the first place, and why Wells Fargo allowed it to continue for 4-years, when they were clearly aware of the situation from the beginning... 

                                                   After all...They caused it.


On December 3, 2009, Wells Fargo informed me that none of the required supporting documentation for the original accounts was on file with the bank, nor had any been provided during the account creation process. For this reason, Wells Fargo refused to open replacement accounts for me.
I wanted to know how someone at Wells Fargo Bank was so easily able to circumvent federal requirements and Wells Fargo's own bank policy, and open business accounts • in my name, without me being present; • without copies of any of my identification to use as verification; • without any of the required supporting documentation;  • how Wells Fargo allowed these fraudulently opened accounts to remain open for 4-years without notifying me of their status; and how they were able to do it all, without raising a single red flag.

I also wanted to know if this was a branch specific crime, or a crime that was specific to a particular Wells Fargo employee.  Wells Fargo's position was that, opening business accounts without the required supporting documentation would not be possible under normal bank operations... yet these accounts were.

I wanted to find out if I could walk into the same branch of Wells Fargo Bank where the original accounts were opened, and open the same type of accounts, without supplying any of the required supporting documentation, just as they had done during the original account creation for Kier Management.  

SO... That's exactly what I did

On June 2, 2011, accompanied by a friend operating a hidden video camera, I walked into the same branch of Wells Fargo Bank where the original accounts had been opened for Kier Management, and attempted to open the same type of accounts, without providing any of the required supporting documentation, just as  Kier had done.

The Wells Fargo employee refused to open the accounts for me, stating that her computer wouldn't even let her proceed any further, without the required documentation.... Odd, that it wasn't a problem for Kier.

My intent was in finding out if Wells Fargo would repeat their crime, and I used every conceivable excuse, and told every lie I could think of, in order to persuade the bank employee to open the accounts for me, but she flat out refused.... just as her job requires her to do.

In the end I explained to her that my motivation for trying to open accounts, was to find out if Wells Fargo would violate federal regulations for me, just as they had for Kier Management.  

I also pointed out that her refusal to open the accounts for me, established that Wells Fargo Bank and their employee, James Urie, committed fraud in 2005, when they opened accounts for Kier Management, in my name, under the exact same conditions that I was trying to.

   The only difference between the two scenarios?
My name is not Kier, and James Urie no longer works for 

This is the video that was taken at Wells Fargo Bank on 6/2/11  
The Wells Fargo associate clearly paraphrases federal requirements and
Wells Fargo policy and procedure, before refusing to open accounts for me.

In the end, the damages I suffered, due to Kier Management's chronic and egregious neglect of this property, and the numerous improper or illegal repairs they had made, which had to be corrected or reversed in order to maintain my contract with HUD, quickly approached $300,000.  

My realization that Wells Fargo, the bank that I had trusted to protect my accounts, had betrayed my trust so completely by allowing this to happen, when it so easily could have been prevented, made turning to them for help when I needed it most, a virtual impossibility.

Wells Fargo Bank 
Refuses to take responsibility for this crime
They would rather steal my home instead

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© Peery Apartments / THIS is Kier Corp's Crap - 2013