Airman, wife lie to get $5.1 million in COVID loans: feds

An Air Pressure member and his spouse lied about proudly owning at the very least 5 small and struggling companies to get $5.1 million in COVID-19 loans in the course of the pandemic, federal officers in Virginia mentioned.

They succeeded in stealing $1.4 million from the federal government, in line with prosecutors.

Malik Mitchum, 26, and Jenna Mitchum, 25, each pleaded guilty on Jan. 12 to submitting a number of pretend mortgage purposes to amass the cash, a information launch that very same day from the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for the Japanese District of Virginia mentioned.

The couple, who used to stay in Hampton, weren’t struggling enterprise homeowners as a result of “in actuality” Malik Mitchum was a junior Airman and his spouse was unemployed, in line with prosecutors. Hampton is 17 miles north of Norfolk the place the Norfolk Naval Station is positioned.

“Mr. Mitchum has accepted accountability for his errant actions and has expressed regret for the occasions which result in he and his spouse being prosecuted in federal courtroom,” the couple’s lawyer, James Broccoletti, informed McClatchy Information in an announcement.

They spent the cash they received illegally on “luxurious” objects, comparable to a $38,743 Rolex watch, the information launch mentioned. Consequently, they’re dealing with a most of 30 years in jail.

They supposed to get greater than $5.1 million in loans meant for small enterprise homeowners whose bills have been affected by the pandemic, in line with officers.

In March 2020, the identical month the coronavirus pandemic was declared, and up till Could 2021, the husband and spouse submitted at the very least 19 pretend purposes “for pandemic-related mortgage advantages that contained false statements and misrepresentations about their earnings, employment, and claimed enterprise entities,” prosecutors mentioned.

The pair “shaped fictitious enterprise entities,” naming them “Alpha 2 Omega Logistics, Southern by the Belle, A20 Auto Brokers, Pure Strain, and Day and Evening Trucking,” in line with courtroom paperwork obtained by McClatchy Information.

“All of which have been used to fraudulently apply for loans beneath the” Financial Damage Catastrophe Mortgage program and Paycheck Safety Program.

Malik and Jenna Mitchum’s sentencing date is July 29, prosecutors mentioned.

“Precise sentences for federal crimes are sometimes lower than the utmost penalties,” the information launch famous.

The courtroom might impose “financial penalties” alongside restitution, in line with courtroom paperwork.

In regard to the $1.4 million, Broccoletti mentioned Malik Mitchum has “already taken steps to repay the complete quantity and is devoted to finishing that activity.”

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Julia Marnin is a McClatchy Nationwide Actual-Time reporter masking the southeast and northeast whereas based mostly in New York. She’s an alumna of The Faculty of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. Beforehand, she’s written for Newsweek, Fashionable Luxurious, Gannett and extra.



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