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U.S. pandemic fraud crackdown yields first case against bank employees

U.S. prosecutors have brought what is believed to be the first case against bank employees who allegedly exploited multi-billion dollar programs aimed at helping small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic. In a case unsealed in Brooklyn federal court on Friday, prosecutors say Anuli Okeke, a former branch manager at Popular Bank in New York, conspired with other bank employees and tax preparers to apply fraudulently for more than $3 million in pandemic relief loans overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Alex Moncion, a spokesperson for Popular Bank, which was not named in the complaint, said on Monday that the bank had alerted law enforcement and bank regulators to the conduct and terminated the employees involved.

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