Georgia Woman Used COVID-19 Relief Money on Pricey Miami Getaway, Feds Say

 

Federal officials have sentenced a Jefferson County, Georgia woman to prison after she admitted she lied to obtain $150,000 in COVID-19 relief funding to spend on a vacation to Miami.

That woman, Whitney Adwan Mack, 34, of Louisville, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and will serve 48 months in prison.

This, according to a press release that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia published Friday.

“In pleading guilty, Mack admitted she obtained COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) in July 2020 by making false statements about the number of individuals her company employed and the company’s gross revenue, and she applied for the relief funding using a Social Security number that was not hers,” according to the press release.

“After receiving a $150,000 EIDL, Mack withdrew much of the funds in cash and used part of the proceeds for a vacation in Miami.”

U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen also ordered Mack to pay a fine of $5,000, and to serve three years of supervised release after she completes her prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

This is not the first alleged example of COVID-19 fraud in the Peach State. Some reported examples from 2021 include:

• In November federal officials announced that a Laurens County man lied to obtain a COVID-19 disaster relief loan and used that money to buy a collectible Pokémon trading card.

• Federal officials in October indicted a Georgia pastor and tax preparer on charges of COVID-19 recovery assistance fraud.

• In July, a federal grand jury returned a 12-count indictment charging a Georgia resident with bank fraud, money laundering, and making false statements related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

• In June, two other Georgia residents — in separate cases — allegedly committed massive CARES Act fraud.

• An Augusta woman admitted to submitting loan applications containing knowingly false representations in an effort to secure COVID-19 relief loans.

• In March, a Georgia woman admitted to creating a fake business and using it to receive funding from a federal COVID-19 small business relief program.

State officials have also accepted COVID-19 relief money.

Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) officials have developed a dashboard that they said reveals how the state’s school districts use federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced last September that he will spend $5.8 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds — taxpayer money — on the state’s tourism industry.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Miami South Beach” by Anthony Quintano CC BY 2.0.

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