New York The Wells Fargo banking group has fired more than 100 employees for fraudulently requesting COVID-19 relief funds from a federal program for small businesses, The Wall Street Journal published in print on Thursday.
The newspaper cites a person with knowledge of an internal investigation of the bank, which found that 125 of its employees represented themselves to request a PPP loan to help small entrepreneurs who have lost their income due to the pandemic.
“We have fired those people and will cooperate in everything with the authorities,” Wells Fargo Human Resources Chief David Galloreese said in an internal statement, noting that these “illegal actions” were personal and did not involve clients. from the bank.
Wells Fargo has laid off between 100 and 125 employees as soon as it has identified that they had defrauded federal funds, indicate US economic media, and continues to investigate the matter.
This COVID-19 business loan program is managed by the Small Business Administration of the United States Government (SBA), and financial institutions have no role other than supervising the deposit in the accounts of the beneficiaries.
The Wells Fargo layoffs come two weeks after it was learned that another large banking group, JPMorgan Chase, investigated alleged illegalities by employees and customers in accessing other funds from the US government’s economic stimulus plan.
At the end of July, the Office of the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration declared that it had “serious concerns” about the small business loan program, as it had received some 5,000 complaints of “alleged fraud by financial institutions taking deposits.” of the program.