A married couple who previously resided in the Hampton this week pleaded guilty to submitting fraudulent disaster 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 loan benefits in the form of Small Business Administration-sponsored economic disaster loans and loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.
These programs, launched and expanded under the Care Act, are designed to provide support to small businesses for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mitchells falsely claimed that they were the owners of at least five small businesses that were struggling during the pandemic. In fact, Malik Mitchum was a junior member of the Air Force and Jenna Mitchum was unemployed.
Between March 2020 and May 2021, the Mitchums filed at least 19 fraudulent applications for pandemic-related loan benefits that contained false statements and misrepresentations about their income, employment, and alleged business entities. It is also linked to more than 20 other fraudulent loan applications by the IP address used to submit applications or wire transfers of fraudulent proceeds. They intended to defraud the government of more than $5.1 million and caused an actual loss to the United States and the participating financial institutions of more than $1.4 million. Malik and Jenna Mitchum spent much of their fraudulent proceeds on luxury purchases, such as a Rolex watch for $38,743.
Malik and Jenna Mitchum pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit telephone fraud against a financial institution. Both face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Malik and Jenna Mitchum are due to be sentenced on July 29.