news woman sentenced to 51 months for 5 8 million covid 19 conspiracy

Woman sentenced to 51 months for $5.8 million COVID-19 conspiracy

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A Stockbridge, Ga., woman was sentenced yesterday to 51 months in prison for conspiring with others to submit millions of dollars in fraudulent disaster-related loan applications in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nikki Mitchum, 45, and her co-conspirators, including Malik Mitchum, 27, and Jenna Mitchum, 27, of Hampton, submitted fraudulent claims for government benefits in the name of businesses that they falsely represented were struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court documents, Nikki Mitchum participated in a conspiracy to obtain disaster-related loan benefits in the form of Small Business Administration sponsored Economic Injury Disaster loans and Paycheck Protection Program loans. These programs, initiated and expanded under the Cares Act, are designed to provide support for small businesses for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between March 2020 and May 2021, approximately 13 fraudulent applications for pandemic-related loan benefits were submitted using Nikki Mitchum’s information that contained false statements and misrepresentations about their income, employment and claimed business entities.

Nikki Mitchum is further linked to four other fraudulent loan applications by the IP address used to submit the applications.

Finally, Nikki Mitchum is connected with 17 fraudulent loan applications submitted by other co-conspirators who paid kickbacks in an approximate amount of $204,000 to the companies owned and operated by Nikki Mitchum.

Malik and Jenna Mitchum previously pleaded guilty and were linked to more than $5.5 million in intended loss and caused approximately $1.4 million in actual loss to the United States and participating financial institutions.

Malik Mitchum was sentenced to 51 months in prison and Jenna Mitchum was sentenced to 48 months in prison for their respective roles in the conspiracy.

Nikki Mitchum has agreed to pay approximately $1.8 million in restitution to the United States for actual losses from her role in the conspiracy and is linked with intended fraud loss of more than $5.8 million.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen. This case was investigated by the Newport News Financial Crimes Task Force, a partnership between local, state and federal law enforcement to combat financial crimes on the Virginia Peninsula. Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Mack Coleman prosecuted the case.


Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.

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