A man who sought to open a behavioral health facility in the Town of Paradise Valley is among nine individuals in connection with a fraudulent scheme, FBI officials say.
Willie Mitchell, also known as Blu Mitchell, 40, of Phoenix, is among those accused of fraudulently submitting Paycheck Protection Program loan applications and reportedly receiving more than $10 million in federal Payment Protection Plan funds.
In summer 2020, Mitchell sought to operate a 10-person behavioral health facility, coined Blu Manor, within a Paradise Valley neighborhood before it was pulled by the applicant, documents show.
Mitchell sought approval of a reasonable accommodation to zoning and land-use regulations from town officials to operate a behavioral health group home for up to 10 persons and up to six staff at 5117 E. Mountain View Road.
His plans, filed June 1, 2020, included housing disabled veterans, people recovering from substance abuse and young adults aging out of foster care. Ultimately, Mitchell pulled the request after pushback from the neighborhood.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations, on Dec. 20, issued a press release about a federal grand jury previously indicting nine individuals in connection with a fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $23 million in PPP loans.
The nine defendants are accused of using those PPP funds to purchase vehicles, properties and other luxurious items.
According to the indictments, from April 2020 through April 2021, the conspirators allegedly submitted or assisted in submitting PPP loan applications on behalf of 18 businesses, seeking loans between $100,000 and $2.2 million for each company.
In the loan applications, the defendants certified each business was in operation and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes, that the funds would be used to retain workers or make mortgage, lease, or utility payments, and that the information provided in the loan applications was true and accurate, the press release stated.
According to the indictment charging Jason and Kimberly Coleman, the married couple conspired to prepare and submit approximately two dozen false and fraudulent PPP loan applications in an attempt to receive more than $30 million in PPP funds. The Colemans were successful in 10 of those submissions and obtained more than $13 million in PPP funds.
According to the eight other connected indictments, seven defendants allegedly conspired to submit eight false and fraudulent PPP loan applications and received more than $10 million in PPP funds. The individuals named in the indictments include:
Indictments are only accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, the press release stated.
These cases were investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigation, and the Small Business Administration-Office of the Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the District of Arizona, Phoenix, are handling the prosecutions.
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