Wells Fargo & Co. has laid off more than 100 employees for improperly securing coronavirus relief funds, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The company found staff members who it said defrauded the U.S. Small Business Administration “by making false statements by asking for coronavirus relief funds for themselves,” according to an internal memo reviewed by Bloomberg. The abuse was related to the economic disaster loan program and fell outside the role of employees at the bank, according to the memo.
“We have terminated the employment of these people and will cooperate fully with law enforcement,” David Galloreese, Wells Fargo’s human resources manager, said in the memo. Wells Fargo stocks followJPMorgan Chase & Co.’s finding that more than 500 employees have used the EIDL program, and dozens have done so inappropriately.
Read more: JPMorgan finds more than 500 workers received US virus relief funds
US banks have been asked by the SBA to search for suspicious EIDL program deposits from their customers and even their own staff. Although the program offers business loans, much of the concern has focused on its advances of up to $ 10,000 that do not have to be repaid. A Bloomberg Businessweek analysis of SBA data in August identified at least $ 1.3 billion in suspicious payments.
The bank “will continue to look into these issues,” Galloreese wrote, saying the abuse by employees did not involve customers. “If we identify other wrongdoing by employees, we will take appropriate action.”
– With the help of Michelle F Davis