Instagram Influencer Fraudently Received Six-Figure COVID Relief Loan, DOJ Says

Instagram influencer Danielle Miller has been arrested in Miami, Florida for allegedly filing and using fraudulent pandemic-related loans for personal expenses. According to the Department of Justice's press release: "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."

It seems her active Instagram account –– where she has 34,000 followers –– may have helped officials make their case against her. After she received the fraudulent funds, she used the money to book a private flight from Florida to California using a fake Massachusetts driver's license in the victim's name, but with her photo. She also performed multiple ATM transactions using the victim's bank account information. A $5,500 charge was placed on the account at the Petit Ermitage, a luxury hotel in Los Angeles, California, in September 2020. A few days later, the influencer also posted a photo of her at the hotel with a geotag, sharing her location.

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Her accounts have since been scrubbed, wiping away her activity from the last month. The last photo uploaded to her page, in which she posed next to a BMW, is dated April 10 and tagged in The Everglades.

The same IP address that was used to apply for the fraudulent SBA loan was also used to access a number of other people's RMV information and applied for more than $900,000 in SBA loans. Miller is being charged in a criminal complaint with one count of wire fraud and is due in court in Miami tomorrow. She'll also make an appearance in U.S. District Court in Boston at a later date. If found guilty, she could face up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.