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HomeWorldUS Instagram influencer admits to $1m COVID relief fraud

US Instagram influencer admits to $1m COVID relief fraud


Federal prosecutors say self-professed con artist Danielle Miller used stolen identities to get pandemic loans.

A social media influencer has pleaded guilty to using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain more than $1 million in small business loans related to COVID relief programs in the United States.

Danielle Miller’s lavish lifestyle — which she flaunted on Instagram — came crashing down when she was arrested in May 2021 at her luxury apartment in Miami, Florida.

Miller appeared by videotape before a federal judge in Boston on Monday to plead guilty to the wire fraud and serious identity theft charges.

The 33-year-old agreed to forfeit $1.3 million and serve six years in prison, 16 months of which could overlap with a five-year sentence she received in October for a separate Florida bank fraud case. She will be sentenced on June 27.

Social media influencer Danielle Miller is scheduled for sentencing in June (Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office/Reuters)

Miller’s story captured the public’s attention while underscoring the rampant fraud that accompanied the government’s rush to distribute more than $5 trillion in relief funds to people, businesses and local governments in the U.S. affected by the pandemic. affected.

Last week, the White House said US President Joe Biden plans to ask Congress for $1.6 billion in new funding to address fraud related to the utilities.

The US Government Accountability Office said last month that more than 1,000 people have been convicted of fraud related to federal COVID aid.

Miller, for her part, told New York Magazine in February 2022 that she considered herself a “con artist”.

The article details Miller’s development from a student at the prestigious Horace Mann School to a socialite whose lifestyle soon became dependent on crime. Her father is a lawyer and former president of the New York State Bar Association.

Miller had previously been arrested for using counterfeit credit cards at a New York City spa and was sentenced to one year in prison.

After she was released, prosecutors said Miller used the identities of more than 10 people to fraudulently set up bank accounts and obtain the pandemic-related small business loans.

She used the money for travel and luxury purchases such as a Rolex watch, a Louis Vuitton bag and Dior shoes, authorities said.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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