“Contact your commissioner—immediately:” MV mayor investigates possible PPP kickback scheme
Mayor Shawyn-Patterson Howard has confirmed with News 12 that she sent a memo to city employees as part of her own internal investigation into the alleged Paycheck Protection Program kickback scheme.
The memo is addressed to all city employees.
It says in part, "If you applied for a loan or any form of payment as part of the recently discovered 'process' that required you pay a portion of the disbursement back as an application fee you will need to contact your commissioner-- immediately."
Law enforcement sources tell News 12 this started back in April with a plan to cheat the Paycheck Protection Program, which is a loan forgiveness program intended to help businesses suffering during the pandemic.
They say PPP applications were filled out, falsely stating that the workers were business owners in need of financial support because of the pandemic.
News 12 sources say the scheme involved city employees giving their personal information to a ringleader, who then filled out the applications. Once the cash came in, that ringleader would get a portion of the money as a kickback.
News12 sources have also said federal investigators are looking into this alleged kickback scheme and that as many as 100 Mount Vernon city employees from various departments may be involved, including members of the police and fire departments.
News 12 spoke with a city spokesperson Tuesday who said city officials had not been contacted by the feds about this alleged scam.
Mayor Patterson-Howard is scheduled to give her State of the City address tonight.
In a post on his personal Facebook page, Mount Vernon Safety Commissioner Glenn Scott said if people were involved in this scandal, they will be brought to justice.