Wells Fargo fires Wisconsin woman for 1972 shoplifting charges

yolanda quesada.jpg
Quesada is unemployed thanks to two minor shoplifting offenses committed 40 years ago.
If you've ever scoffed when someone has told you something will go on your permanent record, remember the story of Yolanda Quesada.

Quesada, 58, was fired last week from her job with Wells Fargo's mortgage unit in Milwaukee after a background check revealed she had been convicted of two minor shoplifting charges in 1972.

1972! Nixon was still president, and Quesada was 18 years old. But no matter, because for Wells Fargo, it's "once a thief, always a thief."

"I think there's more important things in my life than something I did 40 years ago," said Quesada, adding that Wells Fargo "never let me say what happened, explain myself, nothing" before firing her.

Changes to banking regulations meant Wells Fargo has had to run background checks on all mortgage team employees, including a fingerprint check with the FBI, a company spokesman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"Because Wells Fargo is an insured depository institution, 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," the spokesman said.

A background check revealed that Quesada had been arrested twice in 1972 for shoplifting. She was fined $50 for the first offense and placed on one year of probation for the second. She says she stole clothing from a Milwaukee department store because she was one of 12 children in her household and needed something to wear for work. Quesada has not been convicted of any crimes since.

Excuse or no excuse, firing a 58-year-old woman for a minor criminal offense committed a lifetime ago seems pretty harsh. Sure, in this post-financial crisis world, Wells Fargo no doubt feels compelled to portray an image of utmost accountability to its customers. But being accountable also involves treating your workers with a modicum of common sense and empathy, and in that respect Quesada's story illustrates a way one of the nation's largest banks is falling short.

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dean berry
dean berry

WHITE MEN have no business patronizing Wells Fargo.  Their nigga managers are actively removing all WHITE MEN from their ranks.  I went through it - Traci Smith of the NBBC in Sacramento is the most evil tramp I've ever dealt with.  WHITE MEN PULL YOUR HEADS OUT BEFORE WE BECOME THE UNDERCLASS IN THE NATION OUR PEOPLE FOUNDED.http://tracismithniggacnt.blog...

Mn voter
Mn voter

WF says: There have been a number of changes in the federal regulatory environment in the past two years ... and unfortunately some team members have been affected," Menke said. "We recognize this is difficult for everyone involved." Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act prohibits insured institutions from hiring or employing anyone with a known criminal record involving crimes like stealing, regardless of when the incidents occurred. The requirement extends to convictions of people who agreed to a pretrial diversion of prosecution for such an offense, even if those charges are dismissed. Violating the requirement could cost the bank up to $1 million a day, Wells Fargo said.

Sounds like Obama screwing this lady not Wells Fargo!

Go Ca
Go Ca

I am really sick and tired of people being labeled. America is using the law, just like it did after slavery ended, to create a sub-class of people that others could use to bolster their self esteem. Given the refusal of the system to expunge the record of people found innocent of crimes (believe me when someone is exonerated by DNA law enforcement still keeps their records in the hope that they will get a parking ticket later on so they could say that [s]he as a bad person anyway). Regrettably, I don't know if there is another department in Wells Fargo where she could have been transferred. At 58-years old they had the perfect excuse so they can't be accused of age discrimination. Hopefully, she did not loose her benefits.

Krilly
Krilly

Trust that your employers are looking into your backgrounds as well.

TheBlob
TheBlob

You mean the choices I make have consequences in the professional world?  What a shocker.

Mn Voter
Mn Voter

How about some background on the "Federal regulations" that changed. Is it perhaps Dodd-Frank that Obama signed into Law????

Saying that Wells Fargo is at fault is a joke. It is OBAMA and his czar minions. it is Harry Reid and that witch Pelosi. All you bank haters can call the white house and tell that little prick to resign immediately.

aronamis
aronamis

And yet all the highly paid white collar criminals in the ivory towers , give themselves bonus's for being able to beat the system without going to jail for what they did to our economy/country .  

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Wells Fargo: where the senior executives are all economy-raping banksters.

I don't go to the bank very often, but each time at least 25% of my visit is taken up by the false pleasantries the tellers have to hand out to make you feel better about their bosses.

TheBlob
TheBlob

I suppose they should just take your deposit slip and tell you to go fuck yourself?

It's called customer service.  Many businesses do it.  Wells Fargo does an excellent job of it, in my opinion.  But it's wasted on cynical turds like yourself.

Research
Research

Mark, I agree with the fake smiles and change to high pitch voices.  You can give great customer service without purposely changing your voice. Why don't you change banks?  Credit Union?  Unless you have a mortgage with them.

TheBlob
TheBlob

No mention of whether or not she was required to state any past criminal charges on her job application?  I'm assuming a bank would have such a requirement in their hiring process.  So perhaps they fired her not for her dishonesty in 1972 but for her dishonesty on her job application.  Everyone's quick to jump on Wells Fargo as "the evil institution," but we're not getting the full story here, not that we ever get the full story from CP.

atrupar
atrupar

Quesada said that when she applied for the job, she was asked whether she's ever been convicted of any felonies, to which she truthfully replied 'no.' The shoplifting charges were never an issue until the background check.

TheBlob
TheBlob

Thanks for the details, Aaron.  But like the other poster mentions, the problem is the strict federal regulations rather than Wells Fargo, whose hands are tied by those regulations.  People are painting this as part of Wells Fargo's evil greed, which doesn't make sense because they have nothing to gain from firing her; they're just going to have to replace her anyway.

And, while I admit this might be a bit of a stretch, it's possible to believe that the policy was put in place as a response to the perceived growing loss of trust in financial institutions recently, i.e. most of the posters in this comment section.  So, by extension, it's the lack of faith of all these grumbling conspiracy theorists that has led to Ms. Quesada's firing.  A stretch, yes, but worth considering.

John Charles Wilson
John Charles Wilson

In all fairness, a quote from the original story:

"Because Wells Fargo is an insured depository institution, 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," the spokesman said. 

Though I agree common sense should prevail, perhaps the federal regulations are so rigid Wells Fargo may not have had a choice. I don't know how much wiggle room is contained in the word "generally".

Diana
Diana

Wells Fargo often a brags about its great work force. They obtain that false impression by keeping about 10% actual full time employees and then hiring and firing temps in swathes. This way their numbers look great while they avoid most accountability.

Joe
Joe

Lets see some facts to back that BS up...  10% actual full time employees...? Give me a break...you clearly have no clue what you are talking about.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Temps? That explains a lot. I just assumed my branch was a training center because the turnover was enormous.

Rusty Shackleford
Rusty Shackleford

Not surprised at all. I discovered what Wells Fargo means when they say "People Are Our Competitive Advantage" when my position was eliminated while I was on disability leave fighting cancer. I got a call while I was in the ICU recovering from life saving surgery to let me know my 10 years of employment was over.

Gypsyfirehorse
Gypsyfirehorse

 I was going to "like" your comment, but... I thought I'd better not, and just tell you that I am supportive of your thoughts on the matter.

I hope all is well with you now, and hey, if it took cancer to get you out of there, well...whatever it takes is how I feel!

Greedy system...evil system...greedy people...evil people.

Banks/greed = the root.

Albatross
Albatross

Meanwhile nobody fired, no criminal charges against anyone at Wells Fargo for their role in the 2008 financial crisis that crashed the planet's economy.

Vinotintojoe
Vinotintojoe

maybe it was because they, and other big lenders were following the governments lending guidelines when approving mortgages? the government is the biggest investor in mortgage backed securities(HUD, VA, Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie) and as the investors, they set the rules as to what needs to be verified and how when it comes to documenting and approving loans.

Albatross
Albatross

Patently untrue. The fact is that they are simply bigger and wealthier than the law will allow to prosecute. When then Governor Spitzer attempted to do anything at all about the issue, they quickly (and with plenty of help from Spitzer himself) unearthed his skeletons and destroyed his political career.

The fact is, last June Wells Fargo WAS found guilty and fined in the subprime lending scandal that was a related issue to the financial collapse. However no corporate officers have been charged or prosecuted. And of course this applies to every major financial institution, not just Wells Fargo.

Crony capitalism and corruption are eating away at our democracy, leaving behind authoritarianism which declares that those who have money and power are above the law. So this woman loses her job for a 40 year old crime, but the people who got rich bankrupting America continue to do so without fear of prosecution.

Albatross
Albatross

No, it's not eating away at the republic - America will still be here if nothing is fixed, it just won't be a democracy anymore.

webcelt
webcelt

Finally, the criminals who brought the financial system to crisis, collapse, and bailout pay the price.

Damanda70
Damanda70

That is some bull shit. WFM sucks and rips people off daily as if it was their job.

MNJean
MNJean

Sadly, this is rather typical of this bank.  They have NO consideration for a human being.  To them, everyone is just a number or pile of information that is in black or white, nothing in between.I feel for this woman.  She is a victim of a system.

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