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W&L, Smith Mullin & Niedweske Barber Hager, LLC File Class Action Suit Against Prudential for Involvement in Wells Fargo Customer FraudDec. 12, 2016
Weitz & Luxenberg, Smith Mullin and Niedweske Barber Hager, LLC have filed a class action complaint against the Prudential Insurance Company of America alleging the company conspired with Wells Fargo to sign up customers for MyTerm life insurance policies without their consent or knowledge.
The lawsuit asserts that Prudential acted with Wells Fargo to perpetuate the sale of MyTerm policies to low-income Wells Fargo customers until they discovered the fraud and cancelled the policies or continued to unknowingly pay for them until they lapsed and premiums could no longer be fraudulently deducted from their bank accounts.
Wells Fargo Scandal Exposed Prudential Fraud
In June 2014, Prudential Life Insurance Company of New Jersey and Pruco Life Insurance Company began to sell MyTerm life insurance policies to customers who had difficulty obtaining policies through conventional means. The MyTerm policies were linked to Wells Fargo banks accounts in order to enroll customers in the auto payment of MyTerm policy premiums.
“Prudential was working with Wells Fargo to maintain this vast national network of corporate fraud,” said Robin Greenwald, head of Weitz & Luxenberg’s Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit. “Low-income Wells Fargo customers were unknowingly sold Prudential life insurance policies that they did not want or request. The victims of this unlawful scheme deserve reimbursement of their stolen money, damages for their lost and subsequent credit problems they have faced, and more.”
Incentive-Based Rewards Program Exacerbated Fraud
The lawsuit highlights that employees at Wells Fargo received an incentive for signing up people to the MyTerm life insurance plan offered by Prudential, which encouraged wide-scale cheating and led to fraudulent, unauthorized enrollment of unknowing customers. When Wells Fargo customers contacted Prudential to inquire about the MyTerm premium changes, Prudential misled and stonewalled the customer complaints.
“Thousands of low-income customers have been deliberately cheated out of their hard-earned money,” said Ellen Relkin, practice group co-chair of Weitz & Luxenberg’s Defective Drugs and Devices unit. “This class action lawsuit will aim to hold Prudential accountable for its role in this landmark consumer fraud case.”
The class action lawsuit was filed today by Weitz & Luxenberg, Niedweske Barber Hager and Smith Mullin in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Pruco Life Insurance Company of New Jersey and Pruco Life Insurance Company on behalf of all customers who have been unknowingly signed up for the MyTerm Prudential life insurance policy as a customer of Wells Fargo.