JPMorgan: some customers, employees misused COVID programs

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NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase said Tuesday that a number of its employees and customers may have abused the Paycheck Protection Program and other coronavirus stimulus programs.

The New York-based bank said it is working with law enforcement in some cases, although in a memo sent to employees it did not state how many employees may have unethically misused the programs, or what exactly they did. The bank declined to comment beyond the memo.

“Unfortunately, we’ve also seen conduct that does not live up to our business and ethical principles — and may even be illegal,” the memo said.

JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank by assets, was also the nation’s largest participant in the Paycheck Protection Program. The program, enacted in the first weeks of the pandemic, was designed to give small businesses forgivable loans that were to be used to cover payroll and other basic operating costs as the nation shut down the combat the spread of the virus.

Hundreds of billions of dollars were lent out in the program, but the program had some controversial elements as well. Some large publicly traded company got loans despite their likely ability to get the money from private financial sources. So did large organizations like the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.

The JPMorgan memo only said that the bank discovered “instances of customers misusing the Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment benefits and other government programs” and that “some employees have fallen short, too.”

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