A 31-year-old Miami woman was arrested Tuesday on a federal charge alleging she used a Massachusetts resident’s identity information to fraudulently collect more than $102,000 in government loans meant to aid small businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.
In a statement, the US attorney’s office in Massachusetts identified the defendant as Danielle Miller, 31. Legal filings in federal court in Boston, where Miller will ultimately face a charge of wire fraud, didn’t list an attorney for her on Thursday.
According to prosecutors, Miller last year allegedly accessed an online Registry of Motor Vehicles account belonging to a Massachusetts resident and used the information to open a bank account in that person’s name and apply for a federally funded COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan through the US Small Business Administration.
In August 2020, the prosecutors said, more than $102,000 in SBA loan funds were deposited into the phony bank account. Then Miller allegedly went on a spending spree for personal items and trips.
“Miller allegedly used the bank account in the victim’s name to book a private flight from Florida to California, using a counterfeit Massachusetts driver’s license in the victim’s name but bearing Miller’s photograph, and conducted ATM transactions using the bank account in the victim’s name,” the statement said.
Federal prosecutors said they also keyed in on Miller’s Instagram account, which has over 34,000 followers, to document more of her spending with the allegedly ill-gotten cash.
“Posts to this account include a post showing Miller at various luxury hotels in California where transactions were made using the bank account in the victim’s name,” the statement from prosecutors said. “For example, the luxury hotel Petit Ermitage allegedly posted a $5,500 charge to this bank account in September 2020, a few days after Miller’s Instagram account posted a photo of Miller that was geotagged to the Petit Ermitage.”
Additional Massachusetts residents also were targeted in the alleged scheme, according to the statement.
“It is alleged that the same IP address used to apply for the fraudulent SBA loan was also used to access the online RMV accounts of other individuals and to apply for more than $900,000 in SBA loans under those other identities,” the statement said.
Miller had been slated to make her initial court appearance Wednesday in Florida, prosecutors said. Details of that hearing weren’t immediately available, and it wasn’t clear when she’ll make her first appearance in US District Court in Boston.