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Social media influencer pleads guilty to $1.5M COVID relief scheme

Posted at 2:00 PM, Mar 07, 2023

A Miami-based social media influencer has pleaded guilty to obtaining over $1 million in stolen COVID-19 relief money to fund her lavish lifestyle that included chartering a private jet and rental of a luxury apartment, prosecutors said Monday.

32-year-old Danielle Miller pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

Miller was arrested in May of last year and accused of devising a scheme to fraudulently obtain pandemic-related relief loans intended for small businesses and unemployment assistance. The scheme ran from around July 2020 through May 2021, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston said.

Miller was accused of using the stolen identities of more than 10 people to apply for pandemic-related government assistance using fake business names. Miller also possessed counterfeit driver's licenses using the victims' names and her photograph, prosecutors said.

In one case, she used a counterfeit driver's license to arrange a private jet charter flight from Florida to California, where she also stayed in a luxury hotel under the same victim's name, prosecutors said.

Miller — who currently has over 33,000 Instagram followers — maintained an active social media presence throughout the scheme, often flaunting her extravagant lifestyle.

In one post on Sept. 10, 2020, Miller is seen standing in front of a Rolls Royce Phantom outside The Beverly Hills Hotel. The 2020 Phantom retailed for more $450,000.

In another post two days later, she's holding a Hermes handbag with a caption reading, "Nasty, but classy. Birkin bag me."

The Hermes Birkin 3-en-1 initially released with a price point over $14,000, according to the luxury retailer Rebag, but can resold on the open market for thousands more.

The charges of wire fraud each carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, while the identity theft charges require a mandatory sentence of two years in prison.

Miller is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27.