A social media influencer has admitted to fraudulently obtaining more than $1 million in COVID-19 pandemic-related loans from the U.S. government to fund the lavish lifestyle she flaunts on Instagram.
Danielle Miller, a self-proclaimed con artist whose deceit was documented in a New York Magazine profile last year, appeared on video from her prison cell to an ordinary Bostonian. Before a judge, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.
As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, the 33-year-old also agreed to forfeit $1.3m (£1m) and serve a six-year sentence, 16 months of which could match the five-year sentence she was sentenced in October overlapping. Separate Florida bank fraud case.
Prosecutors allege Miller used the identities of more than a dozen people to fraudulently open bank accounts and secure more than $1m (£831,450) in pandemic-related loans intended for small businesses.
She is said to have spent the money on travel and luxury items, including Rolexes, Louis Vuitton bags and Dior shoes, and posted Instagram photos of her luxury California hotel where she used a bank account in one’s name. or her victims.
Originally from New York, Miller is the daughter of a former president of the New York State Bar Association and a student of the prestigious Horaceman College.
She was already facing charges in another fraud case in Florida court when she was arrested in May 2021 at a luxury Miami apartment she moved into during the pandemic.
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“Honestly, I think I’m more of a liar,” Miller said in new york magazine article.
“You know how they say you can sell ice to an Eskimo? If there’s something I want, I’ll get it.”
More than 1,000 people have been convicted of defrauding COVID relief programs, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Miller’s case is an example of rampant fraud as the federal government scrambles to distribute more than $5tn (£4.1tn) in relief funds to help people, businesses and local governments hit by the pandemic due to lockdowns and shutdowns .
Last week, the White House said President Joe Biden planned to ask Congress for $1.6bn (£1.3bn) in new funding to fight fraud linked to the scheme.
Miller will be sentenced on June 27.