Former Virginia State Employee Sentenced for $1.8 M COVID-19 Fraud Using Information Obtained from Her State Employment Create History Clothing

Former Virginia State Employee Sentenced for $1.8 M COVID-19 Fraud Using Information Obtained from Her State Employment

Sadie Mitchell took advantage of the personal data of Virginians she was able to get from a government database by submitting false applications under the names of inmates from state prisons. She was sentenced today to 70 months in prison.

Mitchell, 30, and Lamar Jones, 31, a co-conspirator who was fatally shot in Shockoe Bottom in December, were caught using the diverted funds to line their own wallets on Tuesday in court. According to federal authorities, Mitchell used a portion of the proceeds to purchase jewelry for herself, including gold and diamonds.

In the first of three fraud schemes, from May 2020 to August 2021, Sadie Mitchell, 30, and a co-conspirator, according to court filings, filed at least 20 false unemployment applications using the personal information of inmates in order to defraud the Virginia Employment Commission. Fraudulent physical addresses, bogus last employers, and an incorrect certification that the inmates were prepared, willing, and capable of working in the event that employment became available were just a few examples of the false information present in these applications. The conspirators also cheated the Virginia Employment Commission by submitting at least 30 false applications in the names of other people whose personal information was obtained, in part, through Mitchell searching a government database she had access to as a government employee.

Mitchell also came up with and carried out a strategy to defraud the PPP and EIDL programs between June 2020 and June 2021. A financial institution received 5 PPP applications from the defendant, each of which contained fabricated information or certifications. For instance, these applications included falsified and misleading gross income statements as well as deceptive statements stating that the firms were open on February 15, 2020. The defendant also carried out a fraud scheme against the EIDL program, which provided small firms with forgiven loans. Mitchell lied, misrepresented herself, and signed phony certificates in a number of bogus EIDL applications she submitted to the Small Commercial Administration for companies that had no clients, workers, or business activities.

In accordance with her plea deal, Mitchell must pay $1,158,674 in restitution to the VEC, $64,166 to the Small Business Administration, and $55,796 to Prestamos CDFI, LLC, a Phoenix, Arizona-based financial institution.

Because it contained “sensitive personal details surrounding Ms. Mitchell that are not in the public realm,” Mitchell’s counsel requested that the defense motion to seal the sentencing position be granted by Judge Lauck earlier. Making those facts known “would exacerbate Ms. Mitchell’s precarious condition,” Brooks said.

The mother of two young girls, ages 4 and 9, Mitchell, according to the prosecution, had a “tough and difficult upbringing” in Church Hill, which they described as having “an excess of crime.” She left home at age 15 after experiencing maltreatment as a child.

Since 2019, she has been receiving individual mental health counseling for her depression and anxiety.

When given the chance to speak, Mitchell expressed regret for her crimes, lamented the absence of a father figure in her upbringing, and said, “My significant other impaired my judgment,” in reference to Jones.