A Miami-based Instagram “influencer” has pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft in a $1.5 million COVID-19 Relief fraud scheme.
Danielle Miller, 32, obtained the pandemic-related loans using the stolen identities of more than ten individuals, according to the Department of Justice.
The social media personality, with over 34,000 Instagram followers, used the money for personal expenses, including chartering a private jet and renting a luxury apartment.
According to a press release from the DOJ, “from in or around July 2020 through May 2021, Miller devised and executed a scheme to fraudulently obtain pandemic-related relief loans funded by the federal government – including Economic Injury Disaster Loan funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as well as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and related unemployment benefits. To execute the scheme, 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.”
“Additionally, Miller possessed counterfeit driver’s licenses in the victims’ names but bearing Miller’s photograph,” the DOJ continued. “In August 2020, Miller used a counterfeit driver’s license in the name of a Massachusetts victim to arrange a Gulfstream private jet charter flight from Florida to California, where she stayed at a luxury hotel under the same victim’s name. In a separate instance, Miller used the identity of another victim to rent a luxury apartment in Florida.”
Miller frequently posted about her purchases of luxury goods, extravagant hotels, and housing. She even brazenly posted about staying at a luxury hotel where she used a bank account in the name of one of her victims for purchases.
The Department of Justice noted that wire fraud charges each provide 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. Aggravated identity theft has a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutively to any other sentenced imposed, one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Miller is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27, 2023.
Miller’s Instagram account, which used the handle “killadmilla,” has since been deactivated.