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DOJ fines Wells $4.1M for servicemembers' car repossessions

Wells FargoBank NA (d/b/a Wells Fargo Dealer Services) will pay more than $4.1million in connection with the U.S. Justice Department's claims that it repossessed413 cars in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The Act prevents some civil cases against servicemembersfrom proceeding while the defendants are in military service. The DOJ began itsprobe in March 2015 and "found a pattern of unlawful repossessionsspanning over more than seven years," according to the press release.

The deal, which has yet to receive court approval, will seeWells pay $60,000 to the government and $10,000 each to eligibleservicemembers, plus lost equity in the vehicle with interest. Affectedclients' credit must also be repaired. At the same time, however, Civil RightsDivision Head Vanita Gupta "[commended Wells Fargo & Co.] for owning up to its shortcomingsand providing all the information" requested by the agency.

The OCC has reached a separate accord with Wells regardingthe violations.