Except, of course, when they did. This order says that:
- Wells Fargo systematically applied payments in a manner that was directly contrary to the contractual terms in the mortgages themselves and the evidence established that this occurred with every loan in Wells’ portfolio. This had the impact of increasing interest, default fees and costs. (In other words, not just one or two loans and not accidentally.)
- Wells Fargo systematically applied payments improperly to every loan they have that is in bankruptcy. And again, this systematic and improper application increased interest, fees and costs.
- Wells Fargo was found to have exhibited reckless disregard for the stays it violated with its conduct (that is, orders of the court.)
- Although its own (Wells Fargo’s) representatives have admitted that it routinely misapplied payments on loans and improperly charged fees, they have refused to correct past errors.
In conclusion, from the order:
Wells Fargo’s actions were not only highly reprehensible, but its subsequent reaction on their exposure has been less than satisfactory. There is a strong societal interest in preventing such future conduct through a punitive award. The total monetary judgment to date is $24,441.65, plus legal interest,$166,873.00 in legal fees and $3,951.96 in costs. Other fees and costs incurred by Jones through the first remand were also incurred and are not included in the foregoing amounts. Because the Court cannot reveal the sealed amount stipulated to by the parties when they settled Jones’ Application for Award of Fees and Costs Related to Remand (“Application”), the Court will use Jones’ Application itself as evidence of fees and costs actually incurred up to the date of the Application. The Application and supporting documentation establish that an additional $118,251.93 in attorneys’ fees and $3,596.95 in costs was also incurred by Jones. The amounts previously awarded plus the additional amounts incurred establish that the cost to litigate the compensatory portion of this award was $292,673.84. After considering the compensatory damages of $24,441.65 awarded in this case, along with the litigation costs of $292,673.84; awards against Wells Fargo in other cases for the same behavior which did not deter its conduct; and the previous judgments in this case none of which deterred its actions; the Court finds that a punitive damage award of $3,171,154.00 is warranted to deter Wells Fargo from similar conduct in the future. This Court hopes that the relief granted will finally motivate Wells Fargo to rectify its practices and comply with the terms of court orders, plans and the automatic stay.
But remember, nobody committed any crimes (theft through conversion by intentionally misapplying your payments so as to unlawfully increase the interest, fees and costs you owe, apparently, doesn’t count as a “crime” when a bank does it, but if you were to do it that would be called a felony and you’d go straight to prison.)
Are we ready to toss every politician and candidate who says something like this out on his ear and bar the door — permanently — to he or she ever running for anything (other than rattlesnake-catcher) again?
If not then we deserve to be screwed as we refuse to demand that our government be staffed with elected officials who will enforce the damn law.
In Re Jones