Wells Fargo fires at least 100 employees who collected COVID-19 funds meant for small businesses: reports
Wells Fargo has fired at least 100 staffers who improperly collected relief funds meant for small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple reports.
The San Francisco bank said the employees defrauded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program through “false representations” when they applied for the funds for themselves, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg on Monday.
The “wrongful actions” involved the staffers' personal accounts and did not affect any customers, said David Galloreese, the company’s head of human resources.
“We have terminated the employment of those individuals and will cooperate fully with law enforcement,” he reportedly wrote in the memo.
Wells Fargo building (Jim Mone/)
The taxpayer-funded loans, which include advanced grants of up to $10,000, is one of the key federal government programs designed to help small businesses struggling with the ongoing economic fallout across the country. But there have been multiple reports of fraud associated with the program in recent weeks.
The Small Business Administration is investigating more than $250,000 million in loans that may have gone to potential fraudsters. A recent Bloomberg analysis found even more suspicious payments, totaling at least $1.3 billion.
Well Fargo is not the only bank that took action against employees suspected of bilking the bailout funds. JPMorgan Chase fired several employees last month for improperly tapping into the program.
Related: Coronavirus outbreak