Richard Eggers, Fired By Wells Fargo For 50-Year-Old Prank, Can Reapply

Richard Eggers Wells Fargo job

In July, Wells Fargo fired 68-year-old employee Richard Eggers for slipping a cardboard dime into a laundromat washing machine in 1963. Eggers became a symbol of the unintended consequences of new banking regulations, aimed at purging mortgage lenders of employees with past convictions of fraud. Eggers has now been cleared to work again in the banking industry, reports The Des Moines Register, but he'll have to reapply to get his old job back.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress passed a law mandating that mortgage loan originators perform background checks on employees, similar to ones required of banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. When Wells Fargo checked up on Eggers, who had been a customer service representative at the firm for seven years, it discovered that prank from his youth.

Almost 50 years ago, Eggers was arrested and convicted of "operating a coin changing machine by false means," and served two days in jail. The bank then fired him from his $29,795-a-year job.

"Eggers is a customer service representative. There's no way he can commit fraud in the banking industry," Eggers' attorney Leonard Banks told AOL Jobs. "It's not what the goal of the law was."

More: Wells Fargo Is Hiring: What's It Really Like To Work There?

But Wells Fargo said its hands were tied. "We don't have discretion to grant exceptions in situations like this," spokeswoman Angela Kaipust told local ABC affiliate WOI-TV. "Once we find out someone has a criminal history of dishonesty or breach of trust we can no longer employ them."

Casualties of the law do have a form of recourse, however. They can apply to get a waiver from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., permitting them to return to the industry. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approved such a waiver for Eggers on Sept. 26, reports the Register, deciding that Eggers showed "satisfactory evidence of rehabilitation."

Kaipust said that she was pleased that the waiver process seemed to work in this case, but Eggers is frustrated that the bank has simply invited him to reapply, as opposed to just giving him his old job back.

"He feels like Wells Fargo is making him jump through another hoop, and he's not happy about it," Eggers attorney Leonard Bates told the Register. "Wells Fargo knows he wants his job back -- why don't they just offer it to him and to anyone who obtains a waiver? They said they had no choice but to fire all these people. Well, once they get the waiver, shouldn't Wells Fargo have no choice but to rehire them?"

More: I Interviewed At Wells Fargo Bank

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has received rising numbers of waiver requests since the passage of the new law, predicting a record 189 applications this year, up from an average of 50 per year between 1995 and 2010, reports the Register.

Even if Eggers gets his old job back, Bates says that Eggers still intends to pursue the state and federal civil rights complaints that he filed in August. The complaints are against Eggers' former employer, the firm that did his criminal background check, and federal banking regulators, and they allege age, sex and disability discrimination. Bates says the law adversely impacts older workers, who are more likely to have been jailed for petty offenses.

"Eggers spent two days in jail for a crime that no one in today's era would ever spend a day in for," Bates says. Older workers are also more likely to have a conviction for check fraud, he notes, since people write fewer bad checks today, because they write fewer checks period.

Bates also suspects that Wells Fargo may have gone through with such an extreme purge because they realized the employees that they'd be firing were more likely to be disabled and taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Eggers' complaints opened up the possibility for a class action suit on behalf of all the low-level employees victimized by the same law. "He's interested in representing the other employees, whose stories you haven't heard yet," Bates says. "He's committed to continuing to help fight for others, who are trying to get their jobs back."

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With so many people unemployed today___employers can be Extremely fussy about whom they hire.
If you have anything in your past: Petty arrest record 40 year ago, bad credit rating, bad riving record, history of medical problems, out of work for more than 6 months, filed bankruptcy, outstanding debts___anything can be used as a reason to turn down job applicants.

October 16 2012 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That is funny. Fired for something he did at age 19.

October 16 2012 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well I am in changing banks to one the cares. Oh well.

October 16 2012 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He wasn't being tried again he was fired for his dishonesty. But that the way it is now a days. If people file for bankruptcy financial instututions and other business won't hire those people either. They see them as a risk and are afraid that they will do something out of despiration. That is not fair either. Also, if you have bad credit employees will not hire potental employees they see it as a negative character and figure if the person can't handle their own finances how can they handle the companies. banks and companies are getting personal and strict.

October 12 2012 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is what I had read elsewhere. The reason they had to let him go was due to the way the new law was written. Keeping him on would have forced the bank to pay a daily fine which would have resulted in millions of dollars paid to Uncle Slam. Kind of like our beautiful zero tolerance rules that make it mandatory to suspend a second grader for using his french fries as a fake gun.

October 12 2012 at 2:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This sounds more like a case of age discrimination in disguise. They couldn't use the old guy's age to let him go because that's illegal so they came up with a minor prank from his youth. I agree that he has probably had a few other misteps along the way but who hasn't? The same people who fired him over this trivial & long-ago incident are probably the people who complain when others must resort to accepting public assistance when they can no longer support themselves. After all, where is a 68-year-old going to find a job?

Mitchell, you asked what he was still doing working at 68. It's called earning a living!

October 12 2012 at 2:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Susan's comment

It might not be discrimination. Older people can't afford to quit working at 65 like they used to. He probably was working out of necessity.

October 12 2012 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He really must of made more then a few mistakes during his lifetime...Why was he still working at 68 anyhow ?

October 12 2012 at 1:57 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Wells Fargo has been guilty of money laundering ... so has Bank of America ... makes you wonder.

October 12 2012 at 12:18 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

wow anything to keep him from retiring where is the statue of limitation 50 years ago seriously wells fargo will never recieve my business

October 12 2012 at 11:41 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Baron hans Vongress


October 12 2012 at 10:28 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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