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Miami influencer charged with fraud over COVID relief funds

MIAMI (NewsNation) — A 31-year-old Miami real estate influencer was charged with fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 relief loans and grants under the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Relief Program, according to the Department of Justice.

Daniela Rendon was accused of stealing $381,000 from the federal government through COVID-19 relief funds originally intended for struggling businesses, the Miami Herald reported.

The DOJ said that “Rendon submitted fraudulent applications seeking COVID-19 relief funds from the Small Business Administration and PPP,” allegedly falsifying her revenue and payroll as well as submitting false IRS tax forms.

Rendon was charged with seven counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft, and faces up to 20 years in federal prison if she is convicted, according to the DOJ.

The funds were allegedly used to “lease a 2021 Bentley Bentayga, rent a luxury Biscayne Bay apartment, pay for cosmetic dermatology procedures and refinish her designer shoes,” the DOJ said. The large purchases caught the attention of the federal government.

The Miami Herald said that Rendon’s defense attorney Sam Rabin was able to overcome the prosecution’s effort on Friday to detain her, in which Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes granted Rendon a $150,000 bond.

Rendon is expected back in court on Thursday for her arraignment.