4 Valley residents sentenced to prison for COVID aid fraud

Jun 8, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Aug 18, 2023, 6:57 pm

Many judges use small mallets made out of hardwood to call for attention or order in a courtroom. (...

Many judges use small mallets made out of hardwood to call for attention or order in a courtroom. (Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — Four Valley residents have been sentenced for their roles in a COVID aid fraud scheme, authorities announced Thursday.

The perpetrators were found guilty of bank fraud charges after they illegally obtained millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

Willie “Blu” Mitchell, 41, of Phoenix received eight years in prison. He purchased a vehicle, multiple properties and vacations with $9.7 million in funding.

Sean Swaringer, 57, of Peoria was handed a 10-year sentence, the longest of the four.

Swaringer obtained fraudulent loans of about $1.5 million on behalf of two entities and recruited at least 10 others to apply for phony loans.

He bought jewelry, vehicles, vacations and real estate with his funding and will have to pay back more than $3.8 million in restitution.

A husband and wife duo from Mesa were the others sentenced.

Kimberly Coleman, 39, got 10 years in prison for submitting more than two dozen fraudulent PPP loan applications — and were successful in at least 10 — for more than $30 million in funding.

Jason Coleman, 41, received 5 years in prison for being a co-conspirator with his wife.

The Colemans bought luxury vehicles, real estate properties, personal property from several high-end retail outlets, vacations and jewelry with the money.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) led the investigation and received help from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Homeland Security Investigations and the Small Business Administration-Office of the Inspector General.

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4 Valley residents sentenced to prison for COVID aid fraud