Hampton couple plead guilty to $5.1 million pandemic loan fraud

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economy covid-19
(© Alexander Borisenko – stock.adobe.com)

A couple who previously resided in Hampton pleaded guilty this week to submitting fraudulent disaster-related loan applications in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court documents, Malik Mitchum, 26, and Jenna Mitchum, 25, worked together to obtain disaster-related loans in the form of Small Business Administration-sponsored economic disaster loans and program loans. paycheck protection.

These programs, launched and expanded under the Cares Act, are designed to provide support to small businesses for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mitchums falsely claimed they owned at least five struggling small businesses during the pandemic. In reality, Malik Mitchum was a young enlisted member of the Air Force and Jenna Mitchum was unemployed.

Between March 2020 and May 2021, the Mitchums submitted at least 19 fraudulent applications for pandemic-related loan benefits that contained misrepresentations and misrepresentations regarding their income, employment, and claimed business entities. They are further linked to more than 20 other fraudulent loan applications by the IP address used to submit the applications or wire transfers of the fraud proceeds. They intended to defraud the government out of over $5.1 million and caused an actual loss to the United States and participating financial institutions of over $1.4 million. Malik and Jenna Mitchum spent much of the fraud proceeds they obtained on luxury purchases, such as a Rolex watch for $38,743.

Malik and Jenna Mitchum pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution. They both face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Malik and Jenna Mitchum are scheduled to be sentenced on July 29.

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