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Wendy Williams loses access to millions of dollars, bank alleges she's been exploited

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2/11/2022 Alex Biese and Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press

Talk show star Wendy Williams is at risk of defaulting on her mortgage and leaving her employees without pay after Wells Fargo Advisors froze access to her accounts, according to court documents.

While the money manager said it believed Williams, 57, was being financially exploited, Williams has filed a petition in New York state court asking a judge for an injunction that would give her control again over accounts worth several million dollars.

"Until Wells Fargo reopens my personal, business, deferred compensation, and investment accounts, unfreezes my financial assets, my family and I are at risk of suffering continued irreparable financial harm," Williams said in court papers.

The legal battle over her finances comes as Williams is struggling with medical issues. Producers reportedly have plans for her eponymous series to move on with a new host.

Williams last appeared on "The Wendy Williams Show" to close out its 12th season in July 2021.

In her petition for an emergency injunction filed Feb. 4, Williams' lawyers said the talk show host lost access to her accounts after Wells Fargo financial adviser Lori Schiller said Williams was not able to manage her finances. 

Williams fired Schiller and alleged improper conduct in their professional relationship, the court papers said, but Wells Fargo has continued to deny Williams access to her financial assets and statements, even as bills are coming due.

In its response, Wells Fargo said regulators have increasingly urged finance companies to beware of possible exploitation of their clients.

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It froze Williams' accounts because it had reason to believe Williams was the victim of undue influence and financial exploitation, according to court documents.

Wells Fargo said the financial adviser has an unblemished record over a 23-year career and noticed telltale signs of exploitation, including Williams' own apprehensions, court papers said.

"Wells Fargo’s priority is the financial well-being of Ms. Williams and the preservation of her privacy," the company said in a statement. "As we have expressed to the Court, Wells Fargo is open to working with Ms. Williams’ counsel to release funds directly to her creditors for bills historically and regularly paid from her accounts."

'The Wendy Williams Show' episodes delayed due to medical issues, but no longer COVID

Williams' show launched Season 13 in October featuring a string of guest hosts, while Williams – who has the autoimmune disorder Graves' disease and a thyroid condition — remained off-air due to medical issues.

Williams also tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19 in September. 

A representative from "The Wendy Williams Show" did not respond to a request for an official comment on Friday morning.

Wendy Williams reveals she has COVID-19; breakthrough infection delays talk show's return

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Wendy Williams loses access to millions of dollars, bank alleges she's been exploited



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