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Wells Fargo fires 100 employees suspected of abusing coronavirus relief funds

Wells Fargo fires 100 employees suspected of abusing coronavirus relief funds
© Greg Nash

Wells Fargo has fired around 100 to 125 employees suspected of making false statements in order to receive coronavirus relief funds, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday. 

According to a memo obtained by The Hill, David Galloreese, head of Human Resources at Wells Fargo, said that the bank believes the staffers made “false representations in applying for coronavirus relief funds for themselves,” thus defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

“At Wells Fargo, we expect all employees to act with integrity and honesty, and we see great examples of that on a regular basis,” the memo started. “However, when employees do not uphold our standards as defined in our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, we take action.”

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The memo, which was first reported by Bloomberg earlier Wednesday, said that the alleged actions were tied to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program designed to provide economic relief for small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The memo said these employees requested funds outside of their roles at Wells Fargo, adding that the bank planned to fully cooperate with law enforcement.

“We have zero tolerance for fraudulent behavior and will continue to look into these matters,” Galloreese added in the memo. “If we identify additional wrongdoing by employees, we will take appropriate action.”

The source told The Hill that investigations are ongoing into the employees’ alleged improper use of the funds. 

As a company, we are vigilant in detecting fraud,” the memo continued. “While these instances of wrongdoing are extremely unfortunate and disappointing, they are not representative of the high integrity of the vast majority of Wells Fargo employees.” 

This comes a month after the Financial Times reported that JPMorgan Chase had fired employees for allegedly taking funds from the same loan program. 

The loan program, which provides grants of up to $10,000 and low interest loans to businesses, is separate from the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal government initiative that offered forgivable loans of up to $10 million.