BOSTON (WWLP) – A Miami woman was sentenced to prison for filing and obtaining over $1.5 million in fraudulent pandemic-related loans and using those funds for personal expenses, including chartering a private jet and renting a luxury apartment.
According to the Department of Justice, 32-year-old Danielle Miller pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. She was sentenced in Boston federal court Thursday to five years in prison and three years of supervised release and also ordered to pay restitution in an amount that will be determined at a later date.
According to the complaint, Miller used the personal identifying information of more than 10 individuals and used fake business names to apply for and receive more than $1 million in government benefits. She accessed the online Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) account associated with a Massachusetts resident and then used that victim’s personal identifying information to open a bank account and to apply for a federally-funded Economic Injury Disaster loan (EIDL) through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
After receipt of these fraudulent loan proceeds, Miller used the bank account in the victim’s name to book a private flight from Florida to California, using a counterfeit Massachusetts driver’s license in the victim’s name but bearing Miller’s photograph and conducted ATM transactions using the bank account in the victim’s name.
Miller’s Instagram account had more than 34,000 followers where she posted her extravagant use of 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.
“Ms. Miller isn’t an influencer, she is a convicted felon. She stole the identities of innocent people to steal over $1.2 million in pandemic-relief loans that should have gone to people in need. In a quest for fleeting social media stardom, Ms. Miller relied on fraud to fund a lavish lifestyle of private jets, luxury apartments other accoutrements of wealth. Today’s sentencing should make it crystal clear that curating a high-society social media presence on the backs of hardworking taxpayers is a path to prison, not fleeting fame,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy.
“Danielle Miller stole critical financial support from the hands of people who needed it during one of the most turbulent economic periods in recent history. While other Americans worried about how to keep food on the table, Miller spent her ill-gotten gains on hotels and luxury goods, heartlessly flaunting this fraudulent lifestyle on social media. Today’s sentence is the result of a collaborative team of investigators committed to uncovering fraud and ensuring taxpayer dollars are going where they should and not into the hands of scammers like Miller,” said Michael J. Krol, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England.
“Danielle Miller engaged in a scheme targeted at the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, as well as five other state workforce agencies, to fraudulently obtain pandemic-related unemployment benefits in the names of identity theft victims. Miller also utilized stolen identities to fraudulently apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Miller’s schemes sought to secure more than $1 million in stolen benefits set aside by the federal government to assist Americans struggling with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to safeguard these critical benefit programs for those who need it,” said Jonathan Mellone, Special Agent-in-Charge, Northeast Region, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.
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