Private flights, luxury hotels, Rolls-Royce tours and branded handbags. Danielle Miller’s Instagram profile had it all but one detail: Where did you get the money for these luxuries?
The 32-year-old woman identifies herself as A “con artist”. The fact is that the title has been won. Miller testified in court to the Massachusetts District Attorney that He earned more than $1.5 million in funds from the US federal government thanks to the fact that he stole the identities of at least 10 people.
During a session in which he participated via a video call from his prison cell, Miller pleaded guilty to fraudulent bank transactions and aggravated identity theft. With the identities he stole, creating non-existent business names, Miller received interest-free loans from the federal government from the Economic Disaster Fund (provided for crisis situations), as well as unemployment assistance benefits that were increased during the pandemic, between July 2020 and May 2021.
Miller manufactured driver’s licenses with all the information about the people whose identity he stole and whose photo he put up. In at least one case, he was able to enter someone else’s data into the Boston Motor Vehicle Registry, stealing more data with which he was able to open a bank account.
Prosecutors even found that Miller used a fake ID to take a private flight from Miami to California, then settled into a luxury hotel for a vacation. All these luxuries are meticulously documented on his social media profiles, especially Instagram where he has 35,000 followers.
In pleading guilty to five felony counts, Miller agreed that he would pay back $1.3 million and serve six years in prison. His official sentence will be on June 27, but the agreement with the prosecution is already known. Miller, in turn, is serving a sentence for fraud in Florida.
Unfortunately, Miller was not an isolated case. Although there are no definitive numbers on how much fraud has been committed with COVID-19 relief funds, according to calculations conducted by the federal government itself, fraudulent payments are estimated to be as high as $60 billion.