A $25 million settlement announced Tuesday by the Ledbetter Law firm that represented former Wells Fargo executive Deborah Ledbetter over allegations of sexual harassment is the latest twist in the fallout from the 2016 financial crisis.
The agreement announced Tuesday caps a settlement reached with former chief financial officer David Wells in September 2016, and the next phase of the litigation involves a class-action suit.
In a statement, the firm said that while the settlement includes $25.5 million for the plaintiffs’ expenses, the remaining $18 million will be divided equally among the four plaintiffs.
“This is a major victory for our clients and we look forward to continuing our efforts to protect them and to help ensure that these women receive justice,” said Lisa Wells, the attorney for the four women.
Wells was fired in January 2017 after a federal investigation revealed that he paid himself $1.8 million to make false claims of sexual misconduct, including one alleged incident that occurred in 2012.
The lawsuit also alleged that he misled the bank’s top management, including its top lawyer, about Ledbetter’s claims of harassment and sexual assault.
The settlement was reached after the former CEO was convicted in 2016 on seven counts of fraud, and he is scheduled to be sentenced on April 25.
Wells and two former colleagues at the bank pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud.
In January 2018, Wells and three former executives at the company were convicted of criminal charges of violating the Commodity Exchange Act, a law designed to protect investors from insider trading.
They were also ordered to pay more than $10 million in fines.
The latest settlement with Wells comes as a federal judge in Florida is expected to rule on a request to dismiss the case in 2018.
In that case, two former Wells executives, Richard Kline and Michael Vassallo, were also convicted of fraud.
A federal judge ordered Wells to pay $1 million to the families of the victims, as well as $7 million to settle claims that it concealed evidence of misconduct.
In September 2018, the Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against Wells and former chief operating officer David J. Coppock.
The complaint alleged that Wells misled investors about the impact of the crisis on the bank.
The bank said in a statement that it had “conducted extensive internal review and remediation” to ensure that the allegations in the complaint were accurately reported.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement in this matter and we are working closely with our plaintiffs to bring the settlement to completion,” the bank said.
“The settlement will help all of our victims and survivors of financial distress, and it is consistent with the commitments we made to them in our 2016 Annual Report, which outlined our comprehensive efforts to ensure our compliance with our regulatory obligations.”