According to an article from the Daily Signal, Aaron Hogue, co-owner of Hogue Inc., says he was denied access to a banking service because of “the risks” associated with his business.
A major knives manufacturer from central California, Mr. Hogue says his company was denied access to an internet payment processing service because they sell weapons online, raising questions about whether an anti-fraud program called Operation Choke Point is continuing to block legal business in firearms and weapons industries from accessing basic banking services.
“It was pretty simple and straightforward,” Hogue said of the situation he faced with Wells Fargo bank. “They called my controller, and said, ‘Sorry but we’re not going to be able to process any credit cards transactions for the sale of weapons online.’”
“And they specifically said because you guys sell knives,” he added.
Hogue Inc. is a family-run business that sells knives, tactical gear, and firearms accessories online. Although Hogue Inc. is involved in the firearms industry, it does not sell any guns.
Wells Fargo, the bank that denied Hogue service, confirmed it doesn’t offer payment services to retailers that sell weapons online.
According to a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo, Angenette Manigeo Lau stated:
“For those retailers that sell weapons, firearms, related accessories, and ammunition online, we do not offer payment services due to the risks associated with processing these transactions.”
Operation Choke Point is a program designed by the Justice Department in 2012 to fight fraud, but since then, it has come under fire for targeting entirely legal industries by labeling them “high risk” for fraud. In doing so, government regulators sent the message to banks that these industries-such as firearms and ammunition sellers-were too risky to conduct business with.
Wells Fargo has a liberal score of “1” by 2ndVote. Click here to view their scorecard.
We will continue to follow this story and provide updates as we become informed.