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A former Virginia state employee will spend nearly 6 years in prison for stealing $1.8 million in COVID relief funds.

According to the DOJ website, Sadie Mitchell was sentenced Monday to 70 months in prison for defrauding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

Mitchell, 30, submitted 5 PPP applications, containing false statements, to a bank that approved the applications.

Prosecutors say she filed for $1 million in PPP loans using victims' personal identifying information that she obtained from her job as a state government employee.

With the assistance of her co-conspirator, Mitchell filed at least 20 fraudulent unemployment applications using the personal identifying information of prison inmates.

Mitchell's co-conspirator, Lamar Jones, was fatally shot in December 2021.

Mitchell falsely claimed she owned businesses that were in operation on February 15, 2020. She exaggerated her business income and the number of employees who worked for her.

She is accused of accepting PPP loans for businesses that had no customers or employees.

She reportedly used the stolen funds to purchase luxury goods, including gold and diamond jewelry, luxury handbags, shoes and designer clothing for herself, federal prosecutors said.

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A Russian judge sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9 years in prison on Thursday. Griner pleaded guilty last month to smuggling cannabis oil in vape pens into Russia.

Griner's attorneys asked for leniency, but the judge agreed with the prosecution's recommendation for a sentence of 9.5 years.

AFP via Getty Images

Judge Anna Sotnikova reduced the sentence by 6 months for time served, since Griner has been in custody since her arrest in February.

Griner stared blankly at the judge when her sentence was translated into English.

Griner, 31, previously said she was rushing to pack and didn't realize the vape pens were in her luggage.

AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration has not responded to Griner's quick sentencing. Her trial, which began in June, was expected to last 6 months.

The Biden administration had offered to swap Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan who was arrested in 2018 and charged with spying for the US.

But former President Donald Trump objected to the prisoner swap. Trump called Griner "spoiled", and he said she should remain in Russia if a prisoner exchange meant endangering American lives.

Griner will be transferred from the detention center to a woman's prison to begin serving her sentence.

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Getty Image, Mail Online

Former "Cheer" star Jerry Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison for soliciting explicit images from minors.

Harris, 22, was indicted on seven counts of receiving explicit images of children and persuading minors to engage in sexual contact.

In February he pleaded guilty to one count of traveling across state lines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of receiving child pornography, a U.S. attorney's office spokesman said.

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CBS 2

Prosecutors say Harris persuaded a 17-year-old boy to send him explicit images in exchange for money. Harris also plead guilty to taking a trip to Florida for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act with a 15-year-old boy.

A judge sentenced Harris to 12 years in prison, followed by 8 years of court-supervised release, Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, confirmed to NBC News.

Harris had faced a sentence ranging from five to 20 years on the child pornography charge and a maximum sentence of 30 years on the second federal charge.

Harris was a breakout star on Netflix's "Cheer." As an openly gay Black male in Hollywood, Harris was praised by such bold names as Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Gabrielle Union and Vice President Kamala Harris, among others.
 

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Robert Sylvester Kelly, aka R. Kelly, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in a New York courtroom on Friday.

The 55-year-old disgraced R&B singer was convicted in Brooklyn of heading a criminal enterprise that preyed on girls, women and men for his own sexual gratification.

Pool via Getty Images

He will face similar charges in a separate trial in his native Chicago, Illinois.

Kelly was a successful Grammy award-winning platinum-selling artist who used his wealth and status to prey on vulnerable men and women, prosecutors say.

His sexual exploits earned him the vulgar nickname "The Pied Piper."

Kelly sold over 75 million records worldwide. His solo hit songs include "Bump n' Grind", "Your Body's Callin'", "You Remind Me of Something", "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)" and "I Believe I Can Fly."

He has worked with legends including Michael Jackson, Aaliyah, Janet Jackson and Quincy Jones, among others.

His attorneys submitted documents about the R&B singer's own childhood abuse, which they hoped would sway the judge to give Kelly a lighter sentence.

His attorneys had asked the judge to sentence Kelly to 10 years in prison with credit for time served.

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Ghislaine Maxwell apologized in open court before she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trafficking and grooming girls with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell was sentenced in a NY courtroom on Tuesday, June 28.

She was found guilty in December 2021 of conspiring to abuse and traffic girls with her ex-boyfriend, Epstein, who took his own life in a NYC jail cell in 2019.

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The 66-year-old British socialite insisted she was "fooled" by Epstein, whose client list included former President Donald Trump and Britain's Prince Andrew (below).

MediaPunch / BACKGRID

"Your honor, it is hard for me to address the court after listening to the pain and anguish expressed today," she told the judge on Tuesday.

"The terrible impact on the lives of so many women is difficult to hear and even more difficult to absorb in its scale and extent... I want to acknowledge their suffering. I empathize deeply with all of the victims in this case."

Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Prior to her sentencing, Maxwell was advised that her prison term would be shortened significantly if she cooperated fully with the FBI (and named names).

One of her victims, Annie Farmer, told "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday that she was 16-years-old when she met Epstein and Maxwell, and Epstein began groping her.

She said Maxwell's presence made her think she'd be safe around Epstein.

Other victims said Maxwell's sentencing provides closure for them.

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Gwinnett County PD

A teenager who killed a woman during a "gang-related lover's quarrel" will spend the rest of her life in prison.

A Lawrenceville, Georgia judge handed down a 140-year prison sentence to 17-year-old Damia Mitchell on Monday, June 20.

Mitchell was tried as an adult and convicted of killing 20-year-old Faith Burns in a Dacula, Ga. subdivision on Valentine's Day 2021.

Police say Mitchell, of Snellville, fired 19 gunshots at the home because she was upset with her ex-girlfriend who was inside the home.

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Family handout

Investigators say Burns (pictured) and Mitchell knew each other. Burns was dating Mitchell's ex-girlfriend.

Police eventually arrested four other teenage girls who showed up with Mitchell to fight her ex.

Prosecutors called the shooting "a gang-related lover's quarrel" and that the girls were members of a violent street gang.

Court documents obtained by 11 Alive News state Mitchell was associated with the Nine Trey Gangster Bloods, an Atlanta faction of the notorious Bloods street gang based in Los Angeles.

Mitchell had sent text messages to her ex warning her that she planned to shoot up her house and assault her.

A jury convicted Mitchell of voluntary manslaughter, three counts of aggravated assault and eight counts of street gang terrorism.

Mitchell's family called the prison sentence excessive and said it deprived her of growing up and having her own children one day.

"I just know something needs to be done. What they did in court wasn't right," Vanissa Jackson, Mitchell's mother, said. "She is not the shooter. She didn't do this."

"These gang charges, those were just trumped up charges, false charges they put on my child," Jackson, said. "She's not affiliated with gang members. She's not in a gang."

Mitchell's aunt, Lena Hall, said the 140-year sentence would rob the child of her adulthood.

"No record, a child. She won't even get the opportunity to live her life, have her own kids," Hall told Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas.

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Gwinnett County PD

Kennedy Collins and Jocelyn Spencer, both 17, were arrested on felony murder and aggravated assault charges earlier this year. Thomas reports the girls reached plea deals with the prosecutor's office on Tuesday, June 21.

Janae Washington and Diamond Giminez also agreed to plea deals. Spencer, Collins and Giminez all received four years in prison. While Washington was sentenced to 2 years.

Mitchell's family say she is happy her friends received lighter sentences.

"They got the same charges. She is happy for them," Mitchell's mother said. "They made an example out of my baby."

"Basically they're saying you'll never see daylight ever again in your life," Jackson said. "They want my baby to die in jail for something that’s false and bogus."

"It's excessive sentencing, improper handling of evidence," Mitchell's father Kevin Mitchell said. "How can we trust the system if they roll like this?"

But Burns' father said he feels like he was handed a worse sentence than Mitchell.

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GoFundMe

"One thing I would say is that I'm upset with the sentence that I got," Allen Burns told Tony Thomas. "I got sentenced to life without my daughter. Everybody called her my twin. Looked just like me," said Allen, pictured right with daughter Faith Burns at her graduation.

"She's never coming back. I lost my daughter," Allen Burns said. "They might get a chance to see and talk to their children, but we will never get that opportunity."

A GoFundMe account raised over $22,000 for Burns' funeral expenses.

Watch the video below.
 

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Jussie Smollett's sentencing hearing is set for March 10, 2022.

Judge James Linn will likely sentence Smollett to prison for masterminding the hoax plot.

In December, a jury found Smollett guilty on 5 felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to Chicago police about a hate crime hoax in January 2019.
 
RELATED: Black Lives Matter Stands with Jussie Smollett Despite Guilty Verdict
 
According to the NY Post, Smollett will likely receive less than a year in prison and 5 years probation upon his release.

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Smollett, 2nd from left, is best known for his role in Fox TV's soap opera Empire. The show was canceled following Smollett's 2019 arrest in Chicago, where the series was based.

On March 26, 2019, all charges against Smollett were dropped by his friend, state prosecutor Kim Foxx.

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After a special prosecutor was appointed, Smollett was indicted again on six counts of felony disorderly conduct.

His trial began in November 2021, and on December 9, Smollett was found guilty of five of the six counts.

Smollett, who is openly gay, remained defiant and maintained his innocence after the trial.

Judges who preside over sentencing hearings prefer to see convicted felons show signs of remorse before deciding whether to spare them from doing prison time.

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Memphis PD, Getty Images

The man accused of killing Memphis rap legend Young Dolph received a 5-year sentence for shooting 3 people in 2017.

Dolph, real name Adolph Thornton (below right), was gunned down by two men inside a Memphis cookie shop on Nov. 17.

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The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service identified 23-year-old Justin Johnson (pictured with Dolph) as one of the killers on Wednesday. A $15,000 reward is being offered for his capture.
 
RELATED: Police Identify Suspect in Young Dolph Murder Case
 
Johnson was out on the streets because the liberal judge who sentenced him in 2017 felt sorry for him.

Shelby County Judge Christopher Craft said he remembered the then-teenager when a reporter reached out to him for comment.

"The first time he used a gun, we gave him some slack because of him immediately cooperating and doing everything," said Judge Craft.

The first time Johnson used a gun, he attempted to murder three people after a fight at a bowling alley.

According to court records, Johnson immediately pleaded guilty to the shooting spree at the Billy Hardwick Bowling Alley, ABC 24 reported.

"He had no record. He got in a fight with some people at a bowling alley, and they were all mad at each other. He went out to his car and got a gun and came back in and started shooting. He fired a bunch of shots and a man was hit in the arm and a lady was hit in the leg and another person was grazed," said Craft.

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Though there were signs that Johnson was a hardened criminal, Judge Craft was "impressed" with the lad.

"He immediately admitted to his charges and said 'you don't need to indict me. I'll agree to my charges'," said Craft. "Because he had no record, he was a range one offender, which is 3 to 6 years. Because there were three victims, he pleaded guilty was sentenced to five years in prison."

Craft spared the youthful offender by not giving him the maximum 6 years for attempting to kill 3 people. Judge Craft followed Johnson's progress in jail. He observed that the teenager had "an exemplary record and no write-ups" behind bars.

He said Johnson "went above and beyond what he was expected to do" and he released Johnson after serving just six months of his 5-year sentence.

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Instagram

A few months later, Johnson was arrested again on drugs and gun possession charges, which meant he violated his probation and faced a federal charge.

"We were very disappointed with that because he was such an impressive young man," said Craft.

"What we did was we ran our five-year sentence concurrent with his federal, and he went off to federal prison," said Craft. "He went off to prison, and the next I heard of him was when he was on the news as a suspect."

Johnson was released from prison in less than 5 years.

Critics are outraged over Johnson's lenient sentence and the liberal judge who put a lawless criminal back on the streets.

"A lot of times the toughest thing I have to decide is should I give this man another chance or should he go off to prison," said Craft. "When we make decisions about whether or not to give another chance, there are going to be a few people we give another chance and they fail. But there are going to be thousands of people we give another chance to and it changes their life, and they never come back."

Memphis officials honored Dolph's legacy by renaming a street after him in Castalia Heights last month.

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YouTube

A Colorado truck driver's 110-year prison sentence was reduced by Colorado Governor Jared Polis to just 10 years after socialite Kim Kardashian and 5 million others pleaded for clemency.

Rogel Aguilera-Mederos claimed his brakes failed when his semi-trailer truck barreled down a mountain on Interstate 70 near Lakewood, Colorado on April 25, 2019.

Aguilera-Mederos lost control and crashed, causing a 28-car pileup that killed four Colorado residents ranging in age from 24 to 69.

Aguilera-Mederos was arrested and charged with 4 counts of vehicular homicide.

Investigators say he burned out his semi-trailer truck's brakes racing down the mountain and bypassed multiple runaway truck ramps designed to prevent the tragedy that would occur.

Prosecutors say Aguilera-Mederos thought only of saving himself when he plowed into the vehicles.

On Oct. 25, 2021 Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in prison under the state's mandatory statutory minimum law. The judge said his hands were tied when handing down the stiff sentence.

But public outcry from truckers, Kim Kardasian, and 5 million signatures on an online petition convinced the governor to reduce Aguilera-Mederos's life sentence.

Governor Polis commuted the 110-year prison sentence to ten years on Thursday, prompting Aguilera-Mederos to break down sobbing in open court.
 


 

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Former Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta cast member Maurice "Mo" Fayne was sentenced to 17 years in prison for defrauding the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

According to TMZ, Fayne was sentenced Wednesday to 210 months in prison (17.5 years) after pleading guilty to 6 counts of bank and wire fraud.

Fayne agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for dropping 14 other charges.

Federal prison time means Fayne will serve his full sentence.
 
READ ALSO: Mo Fayne Paid $5 Million to Casino to Cover Gambling Debts
 
After he's released from prison in 17 years, Fayne will serve 5 years of supervised release. He is also ordered to pay over $4.4 million in restitution.

Fayne was arrested on May 11, 2020 and charged with defrauding the federal Paycheck Protection Program for over $3 million.

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Fayne, who previously dated reality star Karlie Redd, reportedly applied for the funds for a trucking company that never turned a profit. He told the bank he needed the cash to pay 120 employees.

Prosecutors say Fayne spent over $2 million in coronavirus relief funds on jewelry, a Rolex wristwatch, cars, and child support payments.

Federal agents served a search warrant on Fayne's Dacula home where they recovered $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets. Feds seized a 2019 Rolls Royce Wraith with the dealer tag still on it.

In addition to bank fraud, Fayne was charged with running a six-year Ponzi scheme and defrauding 20 investors to cover large gambling debts, prosecutors said.

"Fayne used the investors' money to pay his personal debts and expenses, and to fund an extravagant lifestyle for himself," prosecutors said in a statement.

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Hennepin County Jail

Black Twitter reacted after a Minnesota judge sentenced former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison for the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020 from cardiac arrest due to neck compression after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for 9.5 minutes.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was convicted on second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in April.

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YouTube

On Friday, June 25, Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 12.5 years, plus an addition 10 years for abusing "his position of authority as a police officer, and did it in front of children."

Federal civil rights charges are still pending against Chauvin. Those charges carry their own penalties if he is convicted.

The city of Minneapolis settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Floyd's family for $27 million.

Not everyone was satisfied with the sentence on Friday. Many said Chauvin didn't receive enough time in prison.

Former ESPN journalist Jemele Hill, 45, tweeted:

"If you're wondering if Derek Chauvin's sentence is fair, Chauvin will be 60 years old when he's released from prison after serving 15 years of his 22 1/2-year sentence. George Floyd was murdered by Chauvin when he was 46. Floyd can never resume his life. Chauvin can."


 

David Becker/WireImage

Rapper Mally Mall was sentenced to nearly three years behind bars after pleading guilty to running an illegal prostitution ring in Nevada.

The Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood star, who pleaded guilty in October 2019, will serve 33 months behind bars for running the prostitution business over 12 years - from April 2002 to September 2014.

Mall, real name Jamal Rashid, was originally set to be sentenced in January 2000, but the Covid outbreak delayed his sentencing.

David Becker/WireImage

Rashid is pictured with LHHH cast member Nikki Mudarris in a photo dated Feb. 21, 2015.

Federal prosecutors in Nevada say the 44-year-old rap producer owned several prostitution rings disguised as escort services in Clark County.

He used paid websites "to advertise the victims for prostitution purposes," the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada said in a statement.

Prosecutors say he manipulated and "exploited hundreds of female victims, imposing rules and threatening them so that they would prostitute for him".

Rashid also "encouraged victims to get tattoos of him to demonstrate their loyalty, and led many of them to believe he would advance their careers in show business", prosecutors said.

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Cobb Sheriff

A Georgia man will spend the next 20 years in prison for setting fire to a woman's home after she rejected his advances.

Jerel Jay Wilson, 29, of Union City, was found guilty Monday of arson in the first-degree, arson in the second=degree, and simple battery.

Prosecutors say Wilson broke into a woman's apartment on September 11, 2018, set fire to her bedroom and physically attacked her for reacting his advances.

Several weeks later, he attacked her again in a hotel parking lot and set fire to her car.

Assistant District Attorney Jared Horowitz said Wilson's "jealousy and rejection left a path of destruction."

Horowitz said the victim was "tormented by this defendant," and he thanked the jury for their "service during a pandemic and for delivering justice to this woman."

He added: "This verdict sends a message that this kind of dangerous behavior will not be tolerated in Cobb County."

Wilson will receive counseling behind bars to help him resolve his poor impulse control and anger issues before being released back into society.

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News4Jax

A Florida judge sentenced a teenager to 25 years in prison for fatally shooting a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office K-9 dog, and other charges.

Jhamal Paskel, 19, previously pleaded guilty to felony charges including killing a police dog, armed carjacking and two counts of kidnapping,

Black Twitter expressed outrage that a Black teenager received prison time for shooting a dog, while Breonna Taylor's killers still walk free.

According to News4Jax, Paskel carjacked two women on Sept. 20, 2018, and forced one of them to drive as he held her at gunpoint.

The car was equipped with an OnStar system, and police tracked the vehicle to Interstate 10 near Cecil Commerce Parkway.

Paskel bailed out of the car and fled on foot with K-9 Fang in hot pursuit. Officers heard three gunshots and K-9 Fang yelped before collapsing on the ground.

"I heard two gunshots back to back followed by a third. In between two and three, I heard Fang yelp, and soon as I came over the embankment, I kind of saw him coming to rest after falling and being shot," the dog's handler Officer Matt Herrera told News4Jax.

According to News4Jax, the Florida Legislature passed a law in 2019 to increase killing a police dog or horse to a second-degree felony and raised the maximum sentence from five years to 15 years.
 

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A Michigan teenager who fatally stabbed a high school classmate during an argument over a boy was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Tanaya Lewis, 19, pleaded no contest last month to first-degree premeditated murder in the September 2018 stabbing death of 16-year-old Danyna Gibson.

Gibson was stabbed multiple times in the chest and back by Lewis, who brought a steak knife to Fitzgerald High School in Warren, Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Lewis chased Gibson around a classroom and stabbed her numerous times in front of horrified students and a teacher.

Lewis, who was then 17, said she still has nightmares about attacking Gibson during a fight over her ex-boyfriend.

"If could take it back, I would," Lewis said during Wednesday's hearing. "I accept the punishment ... and I know no amount of apologies will take it back ... and I'm so, so sorry. I just hope one day, you'll be [able to] forgive me."

Lewis will be eligible for parole after 25 years due to credit for time served.

Gibson's aunt, Christina Ford, read a statement via video on behalf of the victim's mother. She said there's "really no words" to explain the pain caused by losing a child to violence.

"I mourn the loss of my baby every day," the statement read. "Times does not heal. It is more of a punishment because the more time that passes the more I realize I will never see my baby again."

"You took a life that was so beautiful," the statement continued. "All I ask is that the Lord have mercy on your soul."

The aunt said she didn't think the family would be able to forgive Lewis.

"She gets a chance to get out and have whatever life she has left. Yeah, it's going to be hard for her to get a job because she's a felon. So what? She still gets to see her people. She still gets to have kids, she still gets to get married, she still gets to do all that. My niece doesn't."

Gibson, a straight-A student, was studying to be a computer engineer and was already learning how to build robots, her father said.

"I feel like I was robbed by the system," Preston Gibson said. "I feel like I was robbed by her mother and I feel like I was robbed by a teenager. Although my baby's not here, I'm still paying child support. My baby's dead and I don't get no justice for it. This is how I feel. Everybody who played a part in her death... f*** y'all."