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JPMorgan Chase probing fraud in US stimulus programs

Agence France-Presse

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JPMorgan Chase finds conduct that 'does not live up to our business and ethical principles – and may even be illegal'

United States financial behemoth JPMorgan Chase said on Tuesday, September 8, it was working with authorities after learning of unethical conduct by customers and employees connected to huge government pandemic relief programs.

A JPMorgan memo rued “conduct that does not live up to our business and ethical principles – and may even be illegal,” bank executives said in a message to employees.

“If you see conduct that doesn’t live up to our high standards and strong values, say something,” they said in the memo, adding that confidential complaints were welcome.

They pointed to problems with customers misusing funds under from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), unemployment benefits, and other government programs, and said “some employees have fallen short, too.”

“We are doing all we can to identify those instances, and cooperate with law enforcement where appropriate.”

The message marks the latest blemish for the Small Business Administration’s PPP, which has been beset with controversy even as it has helped support tens of millions of jobs. 

At least some of the problems with the PPP have been the result of the program’s hasty rollout, which emphasized the need to quickly distribute funds to companies and employed less stringent anti-fraud safeguards than other government programs.

US prosecutors last month unveiled criminal charges against one PPP recipient who spent nearly $3 million on a Rolex watch and other luxury items after claiming as employees of celebrities and professional athletes, including one who was dead. In another case, a Texas man spent $200,000 in PPP funds on a Lamborghini. –

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