COVID-19: Alleged P3 Bribe Program Investigated in Westchester
Some City of Mount Vernon employees are under investigation for allegedly concocting a plan to cheat the paycheck protection program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, as rumors rose about a possible federal investigation into a bribery program, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard issued a note to city employees warning that there may be consequences if there was any truth behind the rumors of a possible scam.
“If you have applied for and / or received a loan, grant, or ANY form of payment as part of the recently discovered ‘process’ which asked you to reimburse part of the disbursement as an application fee, you will need to contact your commissioner. , Human Resources Commissioner Holly Francis-Merritt or Chief of Staff Darren Morton immediately, ”she wrote.
The PPP loan forgiveness program was intended to help companies that were unable to do business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is alleged that PPP applications have been fulfilled, falsely claiming the workers to be business owners in need of financial support due to the outbreak. Employees reportedly gave personal information to one of the program’s leaders, who received bribes after the PPP checks were cashed.
No formal investigation into a possible P3 program has been announced by a law enforcement agency to date.
Mount Vernon Security Commissioner Glenn Scott has taken to social media to condemn all potential schemers, saying he will throw the book at them if found guilty.
“It’s extremely simple,” he posted on Facebook, adding that this is a personal comment, not the opinion of the city. “If a city employee is charged by a federal agency with fraud, they must be fired by our administration.
Scott said anyone sued by the federal government for a potential P3 project will have to repay the grant or loan, their assets will be frozen and the government will recover the stolen money.
“If the loan or grant is not repaid or if the government wants to blame the fraud, it has nothing to do with the city. And it’s between the government and them. Like taxes, ”Scott said. “If there is a central broker behind these actions, then the government is locking them up on federal charges.
“It is a matter of personal risk, greed and a lack of ethical behavior,” he continued. “Lack of ethical behavior is also the norm for firing city employees. ”
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