A Florida woman known for flaunting her wealth on Instagram has been arrested for allegedly defrauding the federal government of Covid-19 pandemic relief funds.
Danielle Miller, 31, of Miami, Fla., was arrested and charged on Tuesday in a criminal complaint with one count of wire fraud, according to the US Attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts.
According to court documents, Miller allegedly 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). In August 2020, more than $102,000 in SBA loan proceeds were deposited into that account.
NBC News Boston reported that Miller used the money on herself, buying expensive stays in hotels and private flights.
She spent over $2,300 on a private flight from Florida to California, utilizing a counterfeit Massachusetts driver’s license with the alleged victim’s name but bearing Miller’s photograph, prosecutors alleged.
Evidence of the Miami influencer’s alleged fraud was readily available on her active Instagram account, where she regularly flaunted her apparent wealth to over 34,000 followers.
For example, the luxury hotel Petit Ermitage in Hollywood, California posted a $5,500 bill to the bank account Miller allegedly opened in the victim’s name last September.
According to the woman’s Instagram, she posted a photo geotagged to the hotel just a few days before the bill was posted.
Prosecutors also allege Miller accessed various ATMs to draw cash from the fraudulent bank account.
Prosecutors alleged the Insta Star’s attempt at fraud went further than just $100,000, CBS Miami reported.
It is alleged that the same IP address used to apply for the fraudulent SBA loan was also used to access the online RMV accounts of other individuals and to apply for more than $900,000 in SBA loans under those other identities.
“The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000,” the US Attorney’s office noted of the Miami Instagram influencer’s alleged fraud.
Miller seems to have vanished online since as her most recent post on Instagram was on April 10, and commenters have taken to gloating about her arrest in recent days.