Social media influencer admits $1 million in US pandemic loan fraud

BOSTON, March 6 (Reuters) – A social media influencer and self-proclaimed fraudster pleaded guilty Monday to fraudulently obtaining more than $1 million in COVID-19 pandemic-related loans from the U.S. government, which she used to make a lavish Lifestyle Funded She flaunted on Instagram.

Danielle Miller, whose frauds in this and other cases were chronicled in a New York Magazine profile last year, appeared before a federal judge in Boston via video from a jail cell to plead guilty to fraud and aggravated charges of identity theft.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, the 33-year-old agreed to waive $1.3 million and serve six years in prison, 16 months of which could overlap with a five-year sentence she was serving in a separate Florida bank fraud in October had received case. Her sentencing was set for June 27.

Prosecutors said Miller used the identities of more than 10 people to fraudulently set up bank accounts and obtain more than $1 million in pandemic-related small business loans. She used the money for travel and luxury purchases like a Rolex, a Louis Vuitton bag and Dior shoes, and posted photos of herself on Instagram at luxury hotels in California, where she was using a bank account in the name of one of her victims.

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Originally from New York, Miller is the daughter of a former president of the New York State Bar Association and a graduate of the renowned Horace Mann School. She was previously charged in a separate fraud case in Florida State Court when she was arrested in May 2021 at a luxury Miami apartment where she had moved during the pandemic.

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“Honestly, I consider myself more of a scammer than anything,” Miller was quoted as saying in the New York Magazine article.

The case is an example of fraud that became widespread as the federal government rushed to distribute more than $5 trillion in aid funds to help people, businesses and local governments hit by the pandemic.

More than 1,000 people have been convicted of cheating on COVID-19 relief programs, the US Government Accountability Office said last month. The White House said last week President Joe Biden plans to ask Congress to allocate $1.6 billion in new funding to crack down on fraud related to the programs.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston, editing by Will Dunham and Alexia Garamfalvi

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Nate Raymond

Thomson Reuters

Nate Raymond reports on federal jurisdiction and litigation. He can be reached at [email protected]