Instagram influencer pleads guilty to $1.5m Covid loan fraud
An Instagram influencer has admitted to stealing $1.5m in Covid relief funds to pay for her luxurious lifestyle.
Miami-based Danielle Miller, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, according to the Department of Justice.
Federal prosecutors say that between June 2020 and May 2021 she used more than 10 stolen identities and fake business names to claim pandemic-related financial assistance.
She then allegedly used the money to pay for her rent in a luxury building, stay in a luxury hotel and charter a private plane.
The Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office says that Miller got the money from the US Small Business Administration, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and other unemployment benefits.
Miller, who has more than 30,000 followers on Instagram, was arrested in May 2021 and indicted by a federal grand jury in July of the same year.
“There, Miller posted her extravagant use of the fraud proceeds and stolen identities, publicizing her purchasing of luxury goods and renting of luxury accommodations. Posts to this account included a post showing Miller at luxury hotels in California where transactions were made using the bank account in one of the victim’s names,” prosecutors stated.
The wire fraud charges could see Miller receive up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The aggravated identity theft charges carry a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
She is set to be sentenced on 27 June.