Virginia couple guilty of presenting fake loan due to COVID-19

A former Virginia couple pleaded guilty to submitting at least 40 bogus loan applications totaling more than $ 5.1 million related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the US Department of Justice.

Malik Mitchum, 26, and Jenna Mitchum, 25, worked to obtain economic damage disaster loans sponsored by the Small Business Administration and loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, a press release said Wednesday.

Prosecutors said the Mitchums falsely claimed they owned at least five small businesses, when Malik Mitchum was actually a junior member of the US Air Force and Jenna Mitchum was unemployed. Between March 2020 and May 2021, Malik and Jenna Mitchum submitted at least 19 fraudulent applications for loan benefits related to the pandemic. They are also linked to more than 20 other fraudulent loan applications by the IP address used to send the applications or wire transfers, according to the press release.

Prosecutors said the Mitchums spent much of the money on luxury purchases, such as a Rolex watch worth nearly $ 39,000.

Malik and Jenna Mitchum pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution. They face up to 30 years in prison when sentenced on July 29, according to the press release.