Instagram influencer busted for allegedly using Covid relief money to fund lavish lifestyle

Funds obtained with false identity reportedly used to buy private flights and stays at luxury hotels in California

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 13 May 2021 13:31 BST
Danielle Miller is accused of duping the US government out of pandemic relief funds
Danielle Miller is accused of duping the US government out of pandemic relief funds (killadmilla/Instagram)

A Florida woman has been arrested for allegedly duping the federal government out of Covid-19 pandemic relief funds.

Authorities allege that Danielle Miller of Miami used the personal information of a Massachusetts resident to fraudulently obtain a pandemic-related federal loan.

She then used the proceeds to book a private flight to California and for stays at luxury hotels which she posted evidence of to her Instagram account.

Ms Miller has now been charged with wire fraud, according to the US attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts.

She 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.

She then applied for a federally-funded Economic Injury Disaster loan (EIDL) through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

In August 2020, more than $102,000 in SBA loan proceeds were deposited into that account, prosecutors said.

She is said to have used the money for a $2,390 private flight from Florida to California, using a counterfeit Massachusetts driver’s licence in the alleged victim’s name but bearing her own photograph.

Ms Miller also conducted ATM transactions using the bank account in the victim’s name, as well as paying for stays at luxury hotels, prosecutors said.

As alleged in court documents, Ms Miller maintains an active social media presence via her Instagram account “killadmilla”, which has more than 34,200 followers.

Posts to this account include some showing her at various luxury hotels in California where transactions were made using the bank account in the victim’s name.

As an example, the DA’s office cites the luxury hotel Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood, which allegedly posted a $5,500 charge to the bank account in question in September 2020.

A few days later Ms Miller posted a photo to her Instagram account showing her at the hotel that was geotagged to the hotel.

Another photograph mentioned in an affidavit in support of the case shows her standing in front of a Rolls Royce outside The Beverly Hills hotel where a charge was also made to the fraudulent account.

It is also alleged that she also applied for up to $900,000 in other fraudulent SBA loans using online RMV accounts of other individuals using the same IP address as the original loan, prosecutors said.

If convicted, she faces 20 years in prison, up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

Ms Miller will appear in US District Court in Miami on Wednesday and will make an initial appearance in US District Court in Boston at a later date.

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