Head of fraud ring targeting Wells Fargo accounts gets 7-year sentence

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By Karen Freifeld A California man behind an identity theft ring
that stole more than half a million dollars from Wells Fargo
Bank customers was sentenced on Thursday to over seven
years in prison, U.S. prosecutors said. Ronald Charles Reed, 70, of Inglewood, recruited Wells Fargo
employees to obtain customers' personal data, including
birthdates, account and social security numbers, the U.S.
Attorney's office for the Central District of California said in
a statement. Reed gave the information to people who impersonated
customers at Wells Fargo branches in California and other
states, and made cash withdrawals of $580,332 from 75 accounts. Reed, whose criminal history includes a conviction over
counterfeit credit cards, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and
identity theft in the Wells Fargo case in March, prosecutors
said. He was also ordered to pay restitution. "Innocent victims of identity theft deserve the protection
of the criminal justice system, and this sentence attempts to
achieve that goal," U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said in the
statement. The former bank employees also pleaded guilty and await
sentencing. Authorities are seeking the identity of the runners
who impersonated account holders, the statement said. In September, Wells Fargo paid $185 million to settle with
California prosecutors and regulators over pushing customers
into costly accounts they did not need or request. The bank said at the time it had fired 5,300 employees over
the past five years for "inappropriate sales conduct."



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