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JPMorgan says some workers "fell quick" when the financial institution investigates misuse of presidency support

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., listens during a discussion at the CEO's Business Roundtable Innovation Summit in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2018.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase greeted employees from a long weekend vacation with disturbing news in their inboxes: Some of them may have been involved in potentially illegal activities.

The bank's operations committee, led by CEO Jamie Dimon, emailed 256,710 employees Tuesday morning saying that while the pandemic did the best for many workers, there have been cases of customers receiving the coronavirus Abused government aid programs.

"Unfortunately, we have also identified behavior that is not in line with our business and ethical principles – and possibly even illegal," said the bank's committee. "This includes cases where customers have abused paycheck protection loans, unemployment benefits, and other government programs. Some employees also fell short."

The mammoth government aid package of $ 2.2 trillion to coronavirus included the paycheck protection program for small businesses, improved unemployment benefits for individuals, and support for larger businesses. Fraud experts had expected a program of this size would lead to abuse, and there have been cases of criminals using PPP funds to purchase Lamborghinis and other luxury items.

However, PPP had been designed by the finance department as essentially an honor system, placing most of the responsibility on applicants who were required to certify the need for these loans, rather than on banks or their employees. JPMorgan spokeswoman Trish Wexler declined to comment on exactly how bank employees had failed to perform their duties.

""We are doing everything we can to identify these cases and, if necessary, work with law enforcement agencies, "said the bank." We want you to know because we all need to be vigilant. "

Legislators have found themselves at a dead end expanding several key elements of the pandemic relief program, and new revelations of abuse may not help in these negotiations. JPMorgan, the largest US lender by assets, was the largest issuer of PPP loans and has invested more than $ 29 billion in the program. Bloomberg reported on the memo earlier.

With reports from Jim Forkin of CNBC

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