NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A pilot and his wife have pleaded guilty to filing at least 40 false loan applications totaling more than $5.1 million in connection with the Covid-19 pandemicaccording to the US Department of Justice.
Malik Mitchum, 26, and Jenna Mitchum, 25, worked to obtain Small Business Administration-sponsored loans for economic damage during disasters and loans for the Paycheck Protection Program. a press release said: on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said the Mitchums falsely claimed they owned at least five small businesses, when Malik Mitchum was actually a junior enlisted member of the Air Force and Jenna Mitchum was unemployed. Between March 2020 and May 2021, Malik and Jenna Mitchum filed at least 19 fraudulent applications for pandemic-related loan benefits. They are also linked to more than 20 other fraudulent loan applications by the IP address used to submit the applications or transfers, the press release said.
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 telefraud targeting a financial institution. They face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on July 29, the press release said.