The Department of Justice announced on Thursday, February 2, that Miami influencer Daniela Rendon had been indicted for fraudulently using COVID-19 relief funds to purchase luxury items.
According to the New York Post, Daniela Rendon received $381,000 from the Small Business Administration and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a programme designed to assist entrepreneurs in sustaining their businesses.
However, prosecutors claimed Rendon spent the money on designer shoes, a luxury apartment, cosmetic procedures, and a 2021 Bentley Bentayga.
Rendon allegedly falsified documents related to a real estate business in order to appear eligible for the PPP programme, according to federal authorities.
She has been charged with wire fraud on seven counts, money laundering on two counts, and aggravated identity theft on one count.
Daniela Rendon, laid an elaborate ploy to get her hands on the PPP.
Daniela Rendon, according to her LinkedIn profile, is a luxury real estate agent who curates high-end apartments.
She was born in Colombia and studied nursing at Miami Dade College before working briefly as a Surgery Coordinator in the cosmetic surgery industry in 2014. By 2017, she had moved into the real estate industry.
Rendon stated on LinkedIn:
“It gives me great pleasure to serve my clients in the world’s most luxurious city.”
Rendon’s social media profiles were linked to her real estate career, as she portrayed an opulent lifestyle that her audience aspired to.
Her online profile stated that she sold properties in Dubai in addition to Miami. According to NBC Miami, she was accused of submitting fraudulent applications for COVID-19 relief funds in order to fund the lifestyle she flaunted online.
According to the Department of Justice:
“Rendon submitted fraudulent applications to the Small Business Administration and PPP for COVID-19 relief funds. She is accused of falsifying her revenue and payroll and submitting false IRS tax forms.”
Rendon allegedly sent fraudulent checks to friends and family to give the impression that her request for PPP funds was legitimate, according to the complaint.
“She is accused of enrolling with a payroll processor to issue fraudulent payroll checks to herself, family members, and friends in order to disburse the funds.”
Prosecutors claimed at Rendon’s arraignment that she was a flight risk because she could return to her native Colombia, but her attorney denied this. Rendon’s defence attorney, Sam Rabin, stated that his client was a permanent resident of the United States with three children. As a result, he stated, there was no need to detain her.
“We had a hard-fought detention hearing and were able to secure bond for her. Now we’ll move on and defend this case.”
Daniela Rendon’s social media profiles were made private shortly after her arrest.