Mexican singer Ana Bárbara sued Wells Fargo Thursday, alleging two employees looted more than $400,000 from her accounts and forced her to lose another $884,000 after she had to cancel a concert tour.
Bárbara, 45, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, also naming as defendants Wells Fargo employees Arturo Arias and Jorge Valdez. The allegations include negligence and deceit. She seeks more than $1.5 million in damages.
The bank is “well-known for creating a corrupt business culture which pressures its employees to lure customers into setting up multiple undesired accounts … thereby maximizing Wells Fargo’s profits while at the same time exposing its customers to needless costs and injuries,” according to the lawsuit.
Wells Fargo also has “adopted the practice of enrolling its customers in online banking and online bill paying without their consent,” the suit alleges.
A Wells Fargo representative did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
The suit states that Arias, a fan of Bárbara’s who had attended some of her performances, approached Bárbara, in April 2012 and “then proceeded to insinuate himself into (her) circle of friends and associates.”
Arias convinced Bárbara, to open up a personal checking account at a Wells Fargo branch in January 2013 by going to her home and having her sign the agreement there, the suit states. Two months later, Arias talked Bárbara, into establishing a business checking account linked to a savings account in the name of her corporation, Lo Bosque Productions Inc., the suit states.
In about May 2013, Arias began using Bárbara’s personal identification information to steal money from her two checking accounts, the suit alleges. He created passwords known to him that prevented the entertainer from having access to her own accounts, the suit states.
In January 2014, Arias and Valdez opened a line of credit in Bárbara’s name, the suit states. The two conspired to forge Bárbara’s signature, according to the complaint.
Together with other Wells Fargo employees, Arias also opened credit and debit card accounts in Bárbara’s name, the suit states.
“Arias and Valdez caused over $416,000 of Barbara’s funds fraudulently to be transferred away from Ana Barbara and into Arias’ hands … for his benefit,” the suit alleges.
Bárbara’s credit was damaged “to the point where she is unable to obtain ordinary financing for her purchase of a new home,” according to the complaint.
Arias and Valdez confessed to their alleged wrongdoing last August, the suit states. A month later, Wells Fargo created a new checking account in Bárbara’s name without telling her and deposited nearly $127,5000, apparently to reimburse her for a portion of the money allegedly stolen by Arias, the suit states.
Bárbara’s whose real name is Altagracia Ugalde Motta, is considered a major figure in the modern Grupero genre and she has an international following.
—City News Service