Richard Eggers, a Vietnam veteran and married father-of-two, worked for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Des Moines, Iowa, as a customer service representative since 2005 until a few months back when the financial elite-engineered global financial crisis precipitated new regulations from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that “prohibits…a person convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust…from…participating, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of the affairs of the insured institution.”
Eggers’s ‘crime’ was a college prank committed in 1963 that is laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic, and that will become evident after you listen to this interview (25:24).
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.
Can Iowa Man Beat Mega-Bank?
• Vietnam veteran—thousands of others—fired under new laws designed to nab corrupt CEOs
The financial elite-engineered global crisis of 2007 to 2008 inconvenienced many Americans, but certainly not the banksters who created the mess. New regulations from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), passed because of financial elite excesses, have resulted in a wave of low-level firings, even as the Obama administration has yet to arrest “even a single big bank executive for professional misconduct,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.).
Tens of thousands of customer service representatives are being forced out of work across the nation, even as the country struggles to gain its financial footing, a feat that many believe will never materialize.
Wells Fargo, the fourth largest bank in the United States by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization, admitted that it would be forced to fire around 1% of its workforce because of the new rule, which numbers around 265,000. Since just the top ten financial firms in the U.S. employ nearly 1.5M, that would add another 15K Americans to the unemployment rolls.
The financial scam disrupted the lives and caused great hardship for millions of hard-working and honest Americans, people like Richard Eggers, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran and married father-of-two who was raised on a hog and dairy farm in central Iowa. Mr. Eggers worked for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (WFHM) in Des Moines, Iowa, the customer service hub of the United States, as a customer service representative since 2005, until a few months back when he was fired for a college prank he committed in 1963.
The FDIC rule, which “prohibits…a person convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust…from…participating, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of the affairs of the insured institution,” precipitated the firing of Eggers and around 3,000 others just at WFHM, many whose “crimes” were as trivial as his.
AMERICAN FREE PRESS conducted an exclusive interview with Eggers who explained the background of the matter and where it stands now.
It was February 2, 1963, and Eggers, an 18-year-old college student, was with a high school friend at the Laundromat.
“After sitting around watching him wash and dry for an hour or so…I just got bored…cut out a couple of paper dimes out of…detergent boxes and plugged them into the machine. And as soon as I plugged them in, the local sheriff walked in and placed us both under arrest,” and “sentenced us to 15 days in the county jail,” said Eggers.
They called it “criminal fraud, improper use of a coin-operated machine,” explained Eggers.
AFP asked why something so trivial was handled in such a harsh manner.
“It was a little town of 1,200,” explained Eggers, “and there was not enough crime to keep the sheriff really occupied, so when he saw something out-of-line, he was quite delighted, and threw the book as far as he could.”
At WFHM, Eggers worked the swing shift, and “took calls all day from mortgage customers, who have questions or problems with their mortgage,” and “had been reviewed…many times…and my reviews were always satisfactory,” he said. “There was never any sort of disciplinary problems or anything of that nature.”
In December, 2011, WFHM notified employees that they would be running background checks and fingerprinting on everyone. In April they got to Eggers’s group, and on May 23 he “received a correspondence from human resources (HR) and they wanted to know specifically what was this business of a coin-operated machine that I had been arrested for back in 1963, and then on May 30, I received a letter…that notified me that I was no longer eligible to work for Wells Fargo.”
Hearing nothing for several weeks, Eggers “figured they had dropped it as too trivial to deal with,” until July 12 when he was called into a meeting and told that due to his criminal background he “was no longer considered eligible for employment,” terminated and unceremoniously shown the door, unable to even go back to his desk.
“I turned in my security badge and I was escorted to the door,” he said.
He went home and “called the FDIC that day and they sent…a waiver package.” FDIC will grant waivers “on a case-by-case basis where substantial good cause for granting a waiver is shown,” according to Section 19 of the FDIC Act.
“In mid-August I received the package…, filled it out, returned it to them, and they apparently moved it through their system faster than anyone had ever heard of it going through the system,” said Eggers. “Normally it takes ten to 12 months; mine was back within a month. They had waived the termination and I was eligible to be rehired by Wells Fargo.”
Eggers, however, didn’t jump at getting his job back.
“I had received a lot of media attention, now suddenly I’m gonna be offered my job back. But how about the other 3,000 people, who were let go? I felt that…Wells Fargo could offer all of these people back their jobs if they wanted to. So I decided I’m not gonna go back to work until Wells Fargo can show justice to the other 3,000 people as well as me.”
Eggers hired an attorney who has “filed a lawsuit…both for my return to Wells Fargo and the return of others in the local area here that he is working with, as part of a class-action suit.”
The suit is asking that Wells Fargo “hold the people on payroll while they file the FDIC waiver request,” and is seeking class-action status.
“There’s no reason to let the people go out on the street if these waiver requests are gonna be passed anyway,” said Eggers.
As it stands now Eggers is not employed and not collecting.
“I lost my unemployment benefits since I have turned down employment,” he said.