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ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account

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June 13th, 2012

For Immediate Release

ML-Implode.com discovered yesterday (2012-06-12) in the course of its normal banking activities that Wells Fargo had frozen its bank account with no warning. Upon inquiring at the local branch (which had no direct knowledge of the incident), it was discovered the account had been flagged “credit risk”, and slated to be immediately closed.

These actions are more than slightly unusual because ML-Implode’s account was a plain checking account and was not an underwritten account. In fact, ML-Implode paid a monthly fee for the account, so Wells Fargo was certainly doing it no favors.

While the site is effectively insolvent (due to the impact of multiple frivolous libel suits from corrupt mortgage, e.g. by the outlawed Grant America scheme) and thus typically had a minimal balance, there had been no problems with overdrafts and all charges and obligations were always dutifully covered.

[ALERT: Help us fight this and other attempts to attack us and shut us down. Donate now. You can also contact us to inquire directly about sending cash or checks. We are also looking for pro bono legal support on financial threats such as this one, and first amendment threats against us. OUR FREE SPEECH IS YOUR FREE SPEECH -- and freedom isn't free!]

In fact, as part of the freeze, Wells Fargo made a $3500 deposit from ML-Implode’s merchant account processor “disappear”, leaving a short-term advance of $1500 from an affiliate un-covered, and a similar $1500 obligation to another affiliate unpaid. The whereabouts of the monies are unknown.

Other arrangements are being made; however, the actions are shocking due to their intrinsic lack of due process and harshness — no advance notice was given and no real reason was given for the action (as “credit risk” does not actually apply to the type of account in question).

It is believed that the actions were taken in retaliation for a recent series of articles by ML-Implode blogger Martin Andelman which pulled no punches in criticizing Wells Fargo over its foreclosure practices — in particular the tragic and horrific case of Norm Rousseau who was driven to suicide after Wells Fargo lost a mortgage payment and mistakenly foreclosed on the family’s home, despite a lengthy back-and-forth process which gave the bank ample opportunity to correct the mistake.

(Other recent articles by Andelman taking Wells to task that may have angered the bank include this one and this one.)

Andelman is not paid by ML-Implode and blogs wholly independently (as many others have done on in the past); ML-Implode does not dictate or control what he writes. As such, if Wells’ actions are truly in retaliation for the articles, they are apparently violating federal law: USC 47 USC § 230 forbids holding an internet “common carrier” (such as an ISP, forum, or any sort of hosting outfit) liable for the content users independently post or transmit.

The prior week, ML-Implode affiliate REST Report Matters (http://www.restreportmatters.com/), inspired and promoted by Andelman to give homeowners at risk of foreclosure access to the same loan analysis tools the banks have, also had its account shuttered by Wells Fargo. It appears the bank first followed Andelman’s references to REST Report Matters, targeted that company, then connected REST Report Matters back to ML-Implode’s business account (via affiliate transactions) and marked that account for “summary execution” as well.

Martin Andelman has no ongoing financial relationship with REST Report Matters, which means Wells’ shuttering of their accounts amounts to tortious interference with a legitimate, independent business.

Of course, since that business constitutes giving homeowners tools to force Wells and other banks to modify loans when compelled to do so by the HAMP and other programs, one can easily imagine that they believe they are killing two birds with one stone by trying to shut down them and ML-Implode (which generally supports just and equitable treatment of homeowners facing foreclosure).

The bank seems to have “covered” itself for its actions by effectively giving no reason for them, so there is nothing to appeal or argue against.  However, our sources inside the bank tell us the critical blog posts were the motivating factor.

There is little precedent for such authoritarian, if not illegal actions by a bank, which effectively amount to domestic economic sanctions.

In one case last October, Goldman Sachs pulled its support from the credit union that was merely honoring the Occupy Wall Street group.

Prior to that, in 2011, Wikileaks famously had its account frozen by PayPal and its Swiss bank account closed under pressure from the US State Department.

Meanwhile, Wachovia in 2011 (by that point a subsidiary of Wells Fargo) paid a less-than-.1% fine for knowingly allowing nearly $400 billion in drug money to be laundered through itself — a fact which is essentially not discussed in the media at all, and so the outcome constitutes essentially a free pass.

In a May 2010 landmark decision, the New Hampshire Supreme court ruled in the case of The Mortgage Specialists vs. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc. (ML-Implode’s owner/operator) that the site constituted the “news media” and should be afforded all the journalistic protections provided by the law and our general tradition of free speech jurisprudence.

There Are 29 Responses So Far. »

  1. May I ask 1 question? Seeing as you are aware of everything that is going on, why on earth would you still have an account with Wells Fargo?
    The Move Your Money movement has been going on for a few years now, and even before that people were moving their money out of these well known bad banks. There are many reasons why you should not have had an account with them, coercion by closing accounts is only one.
    It makes more sense to protect your sense than be tilting at windmills while you keep your accounts with a BAU bank.
    Face it, if you are oging to attack the banks, don’t have accounts with them. Seems common sense to me.

  2. Milliepickle,

    Fair enough question. I had already moved my personal account and there were plans to do similar for the ML-Implode accounts, however, being as short-staffed as we are after being sued into effective insolvency (read: staff size = 1), all the financial connections can take a while to detangle.

    Further, I didn’t consider it a priority since no significant ongoing balance was in the account. It sort of defeats the purpose of “move your money” if there’s no money to move.

    But yes, optimally, we would eventually not even have a “transactional” account with Wells Fargo (something that is certainly being fast-tracked now…)

  3. you should send copies of this e-mail to your political representatives and start petitions on change.org and other petition sites. I’ll retweet the link I learned of this from. “THEY” really are taking over. We’re screwed if they ever get paper money to be replaced with all digital currency. Soon ‘they’ will be so oppressive that violent revolutions or passive slavery will be the only recourse.

  4. [...] ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account : The Impl…. [...]

  5. [...] Read more Share this:EmailPrintMoreDigg Pin ItShare on TumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  6. [...] Rosenberg – CNBC Germany signals shift on €2.3 trillion fund for Europe – Telegraph ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Account – ML-Implode JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon apologizes for trading losses – Washington Post [...]

  7. [...] ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

  8. [...] ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

  9. [...] we are a couple of weeks later and Wells Fargo has taken action against ML-Implode, who hosts Andelman’s site, by freezing its bank [...]

  10. [...] encourage you to read ML-Implode blogger Martin Andelman’s article: ML-Implode Gets ‘Wikileaks Treatment’ As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account and his article on mandelmanmatters.com about a homeowner committing suicide as a result of Wells [...]

  11. This is Doug from Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo certainly respects people’s rights to express their opinions, and would never close an account based on an opinion expressed in an article or blog post.

  12. Well there you have it folks. “Doug” says that revenge isn’t why ML-Implode’s accounts were closed. That’s a big relief.

    So the actual reason was “nothing”. Much better.

  13. Oh by the way, “Doug”, Wells Fargo also closed the accounts of ANOTHER business under a different taxid that happened to also be managed by the same person, and one of a nonprofit that was not even connected to the original account targeted.

    And the branch manager I spoke with reassured me neither of those accounts were affected.

    So, thanks, “Doug” — now let me get back to making alternative arrangements, so I (and a few others depending on being paid) can eat, and pay rent, and other OPTIONAL CR*P LIKE THAT (which, incidentally, I’m sure you’re still able to do comfortable on your Wells Fargo paycheck, since all of us bailed you jackasses out involuntarily, only to have you lord over us like the East German Stasi)

  14. [...] You can read about the suicide and the rest of Aaron Krowne’s story in his post ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

  15. [...] You can read about the suicide and the rest of Aaron Krowne’s story in his post ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

  16. [...] You can read about the suicide and the rest of Aaron Krowne’s tale in his post ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

  17. [...] You can read about the suicide and the rest of Aaron Krowne’s story in his post ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

  18. Try Bitcoin next time.

  19. Sean,

    Would that bitcoin was available for normal commercial/banking transactions… believe me I’d be there in a microsecond.

    Even just the fact that bank transfers take hours if not days to clear is offensive when the powers that be know very well we’ve been able to do all that instantly for decades now. Bitcoin does it now… but sadly it is little more than its own stand-alone network…

  20. May a Credit Union would be more helpful and more in-line with your mission. Still, I’m sorry. things must really suck right now. I am so very glad I’m not American and subject to the arbitrary laws and bullshit courts that defend such failing empires. My advice is to flee the fucking states! Move to Canada, Iceland or Bhutan. Renounce American citizenship if you can, and live away from the Beast of hypocrisy and deceit. Option 2: get a big fucking gun ready…

  21. [...] Via ML-Implode: ML-Implode.com discovered in the course of its normal banking activities that Wells Fargo had frozen its bank account with no warning. Upon inquiring at the local branch (which had no direct knowledge of the incident), it was discovered the account had been flagged “credit risk”, and slated to be immediately closed. [...]

  22. [...] we are a couple of weeks later and Wells Fargo has taken action against ML-Implode, who hosts Andelman’s site, by freezing its bank [...]

  23. Wells Fargo is stealing home from a Veteran,family and his pets due to wrongful/illegal foreclosure leaving them homeless. WF loan modification scam is hurting millions of people. Taxpayers bailed Wells Fargo out

  24. Use bitcoin and I will donate I will not give those FUCKING BANKERS any money via credit cards for my donations.

  25. Good point, Davinci; we will accept bitcoin and in fact wish we could use it for all transactions!

    Others who are familiar with bitcoin and want to donate can do so at the address 1Q7A86UGxyAqPLuZDozfjaFauTnkgw58JS

    If you aren’t familiar with bitcoin, it’s easy — go download it at bitcoin.org and get started.

    Here is an overview on buying bitcoins: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Buying_bitcoins

  26. [...] ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

  27. [...] ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

  28. [...] wrote about that publicly, which even provoked a canned response from a Wells Fargo PR [...]

  29. [...] You can read about the suicide and the rest of Aaron Krowne’s story in his post ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account [...]

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