JPMorgan Chase investigating misuse of pandemic aid funds

The bank said customers, and possibly employees, were involved.

September 8, 2020, 1:18 PM

JPMorgan Chase said on Tuesday that it's identified the misuse of COVID-19 relief funds by customers, and is investigating whether some of the bank's employees also may be have been involved.

In a memo to staff signed by a dozen senior leaders, including CEO Jamie Dimon, the investment bank said such conduct "does not live up to our business and ethical principles -- and may even be illegal."

The potentially illegal conduct "includes instances of customers misusing Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment benefits and other government programs," according to a memo obtained by ABC News.

"Some employees have fallen short, too," the memo added. "We are doing all we can to identify those instances, and cooperate with law enforcement where appropriate."

It went on to urge employees to report any concerns to a internal "conduct hotline."

PHOTO: A J.P. Morgan logo is displayed atop at the Chater House on July 16, 2018 in Hong Kong.
A J.P. Morgan logo is displayed atop at the Chater House on July 16, 2018 in Hong Kong.
S3studio/Getty Images, FILE

JPMorgan Chase declined ABC News' request for comment on Tuesday.

The largest U.S. bank by assets, JPMorgan Chase has issued nearly 300,000 loans totaling almost $30 billion under the PPP.

The problem-plagued PPP initiative has courted controversy for months. In July, the Small Business Administration revealed the names of over 650,000 PPP loan recipients, a list that included some eyebrow-raising beneficiaries of the taxpayer-funded program aimed to help small businesses, such as Kanye West's fashion brand and the Church of Scientology.

Meanwhile, last week, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis revealed that it has identified other possible fraudulent activity within the PPP program, including more than $1 billion awarded to businesses that received multiple loans, according to The Associated Press.