GEORGIA (WRBL) – A Georgia woman has been sentenced to serve four years in prison for her involvement in a COVID-19 pandemic fraud scheme in which she used false information to get $150,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
The Jefferson County woman then cashed out the loan and used the money in part to pay for a vacation to Miami.
On Friday, 34-year-old Whitney Adwan Mack was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to one county of wire fraud, according to officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Georgia.
U.S. Attorney David H. Estes said COVID-19 relief funds have helped many people with struggling businesses during the pandemic, but also presented an opportunity to people who thought they could steal from the government.
“Unfortunately, the lure of money also attracted con artists who attempted to enrich themselves by defrauding taxpayers during a national emergency, and they are being held accountable,” Estes said.
Officials said Mack admitted that in July 2020, she lied about the number of people her company employed and how much the business cost while applying for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Additionally, Mack also used someone else’s social security number to apply for the loans, according to officials.
Officials also said, after receiving $150,000 in EIDL, Mack withdrew a large amount of the funds in cash and used part of the proceeds for a vacation in Miami.
“Mack stole critical funding earmarked for small businesses facing real economic hardships due to the pandemic and damaged the integrity of the Social Security number,” Gail S. Ennis said, an Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.
Following her release from prison, Mack will have to pay a $5,000 fine and serve three years of supervised release.