MIL-OSI Security: Durham Man Sentenced to Seven Years for Role in Mortgage and COVID-19 Pandemic Fund Frauds Exceeds $2.9 Million

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Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI Crime News (b)

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Durham man was sentenced to 84 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining over $1,300,000 in mortgages and over $1,600,000 in fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) proceeds.  On April 13, 2023, Reynold Eugene Mullen pled guilty to the charges.

“This white-collar fraud on American taxpayers is stunning. We live in a generous nation that lends a hand to those in need,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “When defendants like Mullen take advantage of that generosity – to buy beach houses and plastic surgery – we will fight for every penny to be returned to the public purse.”

“Mullen not only used washed credit reports and fabricated bank statements to obtain mortgages; he also took advantage of aid programs intended to provide critical relief for hardworking members of our communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak by fraudulently obtaining pandemic program loans,” said Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS CI) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brian Thomas, Charlotte Field Office. “IRS CI, along with our law enforcement partners remain vigilant in identifying, investigating, and recommending those individuals for prosecution who willfully seek to defraud the United States Treasury and blatantly disregard the victims of their schemes.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, between 2019 and 2021, Reynold Eugene Mullen, 48, and his girlfriend, Tiffany Dawn Russell, used “washed” credit reports and fabricated bank statements to obtain four mortgages totaling $1,374,000, for the purchase of properties in Miami, Florida, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and Nags Head, North Carolina.

Between March 2020 and July 2021, Mullen and Russell also submitted fraudulent EIDL and PPP applications on behalf on entities that were either owned entirely, or in part, by them. On these applications, Mullen and Russell provided false monthly payroll amounts and misrepresented the entities’ number of employees. Mullen and Russell also submitted fraudulent tax returns as part of these applications. As a result of these frauds, Mullen and Russell obtained more than $1,600,000. Mullen and Russell used the fraud proceeds to purchase six properties and pay for Mullen’s plastic surgery.

On May 25, 2022, Russell (5:20-cr-00505-D-3) was sentenced to 63 months in prison and five years of supervised release for her role in this scheme.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa K. Labresh  prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:23-CR-33-D.

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