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Al's Emporium: A Few More Bad Apples

By Al Lewis And now, the week's financial news: -- Russ Wasendorf, founder of Peregrine Financial Group in Cedar Falls, Iowa, ran an exhaust hose into his Chevy Cavalier. Regulators allege he'd been cooking his books; millions are reportedly missing from client accounts. His company has filed to liquidate in bankruptcy court, and Mr. Wasendorf, 64 years old, is reportedly in a coma. -- Montgomery Bank & Trust is missing a director and $17 million. Aubrey "Lee" Price, 46, left a suicide note, saying he planned to jump off a ferryboat. Law-enforcement officials suspect he isn't on the bottom of a bay, but on the run. -- San Bernardino became the third California city to file for bankruptcy. City Attorney James Penman informed City Council that for the past 13 years, they'd been looking at falsified financial documents. -- City workers in Scranton, Pa., boyhood home of Vice President Joe Biden, filed a federal lawsuit complaining that their mayor slashed their pay down to minimum wage to meet a budget shortfall. Imagine a cop risking a bullet, or a firefighter running into a burning house, for $7.25 an hour. -- Around the world, regulators continue investigating how many major banks may have been manipulating interest rates. The probe follows the resignation of Barclays honcho Robert Diamond and the international bank's agreement to pay $450 million to settle claims that it put the fix on interest rates. These rates -- called Libor -- help determine what businesses and consumers pay on loans across the entire planet. -- The Justice Department announced Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $175 million to settle claims that it discriminated against blacks and Hispanics, illegally sticking them with higher fees and the kind of subprime mortgages that led to our financial crisis. -- J.P. Morgan Chase said its trading losses ballooned to $5.8 billion, nearly three times the initial estimate. It also said traders may have masked losses. The bank employed a character nicknamed the London Whale who apparently spouted cash out his blowhole. -- Five physicians agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle insider-trading charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission. They allegedly traded on inside information from a medical-liability insurer. They are small-time players compared with Rajat Gupta, who sat on the board at Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble. Mr. Gupta awaits sentencing in October on criminal insider-trading convictions. If a guy at his level gets caught doing it, a lot of other people are doing it, too. -- New York law firm Labaton Sucharow released a survey of 500 financial professionals in the U.S. and the U.K. Of those surveyed, 24% said being successful requires unethical or illegal deeds. "It is shocking that four years after the global economic crisis began there continues to be a fundamental lack of integrity," said Chris Keller, a partner at the law firm. Yes, shocking. And this is just the stuff reported last week. I don't have space to hash over the past decade, except to note that years ago our political and corporate elites promised that Enron's collapse, while shocking, was an isolated event. Even relatively trustworthy business leaders agreed, including broker for the people, Charles Schwab. "It is amazing to see this Enron thing unfold," Mr. Schwab told the Austin American-Statesman in 2002. "It's sort of ghastly. And you wonder what were they thinking about. You wonder how far along, how long ago did they cross over the line. My own view is that it is highly isolated; it's not rampant. . . . One bad apple." --- Al Lewis is a columnist for Dow Jones Newswires in Denver. He blogs at tellittoal.com; his email address is al.lewis@dowjones.com

Stock News for Wells Fargo (WFC)
DateTimeHeadline
10/14/201417:58:52MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500 Snaps 3-day Losing Streak
10/14/201417:46:58Wells Fargo Third-Quarter Profit Rises -- 5th Update
10/14/201417:43:50Wells Fargo Third-Quarter Profit Rises -- 4th Update
10/14/201417:34:58MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Rise Amid Upbeat Earnings
10/14/201417:33:08U.S. Hot Stocks: Hot Stocks to Watch
10/14/201417:26:48MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks: Futures Climb As Citi, J&J Earnings...
10/14/201412:36:27MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks: Futures Climb As JPM Reports, Citi...
10/14/201410:23:56MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks: Futures Flat As JPM, Citi Earnings...
10/12/201405:53:30MARKET SNAPSHOT: Earnings Under Pressure From Stronger U.S. Dollar
10/05/201406:18:12MARKET SNAPSHOT: The Best And Worst Sectors Going Into Earnings...
09/29/201423:00:21Bank Branches in U.S. Dip to Lowest Since 2005
09/29/201422:52:12Bank Branches in U.S. Decline to Lowest Level Since 2005 -- Update
09/29/201418:01:11Bank Branches in U.S. Decline to Lowest Level Since 2005
09/24/201410:00:11Investor Optimism Highest in 7 Years, Survey Finds
09/24/201409:34:17Investor Optimism Highest in Seven Years, Says Survey
09/23/201417:45:56Advisers' Side Businesses Include Broadway Shows, Cattle Farms...
09/22/201418:54:36Minority Borrowers Feel Mortgage Pinch--Update 2
08/14/201417:25:28Berkshire Hathaway Continued Investing in Media in Second Quarter
08/06/201417:30:05Wells Fargo Says Litigation Losses Could Be As Much As $1.2 Billion
08/06/201417:19:58Wells Fargo Says Loss Measurement Related to Litigation Could...

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