Influencer pleads guilty to $1.5 million COVID relief fraud scheme
Danielle Miller, a 32-year-old Miami social media influencer, has pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft in a $1.5 million COVID relief fraud scheme, according to the Department of Justice.
The New York-born Miller used the stolen identities of more than 10 people and fake business names to claim pandemic-related financial assistance, which she then used to fund personal expenses, such as rent in a luxury apartment and to charter a private plane.
She procured money from the disaster funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and other unemployment benefits, according to the press release from the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office. She relied on fake driver’s licenses and adopted the aliases when convenient.
Miller maintained an active social media presence, with over 30,000 followers on Instagram. One of her pinned posts promoted an appearance on actress Julia Fox’s podcast with the caption “My story,” in which she describes her arrest. Her Instagram still contains a link to her Cash App in her profile bio, presumably to allow followers to continue to send her money.
But Miller has not posted on the platform since October 2022, where she promoted a new line of clothing and accessories with text that reads “I am not an influencer,” among other slogans. The shop appears to still be active.
She was arrested in May 2021, and was indicted by a federal grand jury in July of the same year.
Miller’s wire fraud charges could get her up 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000, while the the charges of aggravated identity theft have a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.