NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A former Hampton couple pleaded guilty to submitting over a dozen fraudulent loan applications for COVID-19 pandemic benefits.
Court documents showed that 26-year-old Malik Mitchum and 25-year-old Jenna Mitchum were working together to get money from loans related to the pandemic.
The couple submitted at least 19 applications for Small Business Administration (SBA), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program loans (PPP). Those were all programs that were supported under the CARES Act.
Officials said Malik, a junior enlisted member of the Air Force and Jenna, unemployed, both falsely claimed to be owners of at least five small struggling businesses during the pandemic. In order to get the SBA loan, the applicant needed to own a small business.
The applications were sent off between March 2020 and May 2021. According to court documents, the couple additionally made false statements about their income.
They are also linked to 20-plus fraudulent loan applications that were linked to their IP address. Officials said the couple had plans to cheat the government out of more than $5.1 million. Their actual loss totaled more than $1.4 million.
The couple had been purchasing luxury items prior to being caught, such as a $38,742 Rolex watch.
They're now facing up to 30 years in prison and are scheduled to be sentenced on July 29, 2022.