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Influencer Uses Rs 3 Crore COVID-19 Relief Fund To Buy Car, Faces 20 Years In prison


Last Updated: February 11, 2023, 12:01 IST

The influencer used the aid on leasing a 2021 Bentley Bentayga. (Courtesy: Instagram)

The influencer reportedly received $381,000 (approximately Rs. 3 crores) through the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program of the US government.

A Miami influencer is facing federal charges after authorities claim she used up COVID-19 relief funds to spend on cosmetic procedures, a luxurious apartment, and a car. Identified to be Daniela Rendon, she reportedly received $381,000 (approximately Rs 3 crore) through the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program, as per Miami Herald. Rather than using government-provided funds for keeping employees during the pandemic, she allegedly used them for her personal gains.

She allegedly dispersed fake payroll funds to her friends and family and spent the money on leasing a 2021 Bentley Bentayga. Rendon also allegedly rented a luxurious Biscayne Bay apartment and paid for her cosmetic surgery. In addition to this, the 31-year-old also refurbished a pair of designer shoes. The Miami influencer now faces seven counts of money laundering and wire fraud charges, which can land her in prison for about 20 years.

During her arraignment in court, prosecutors claimed Rendon was at a flight risk to her native Colombia. A bond of $1,50,000 was levelled against her by the judge. Rendon now how has to legally fight the charges. The report claims that the Miami influencer produced fake documents about her real estate business to qualify for receiving government funds. The falsified list of documents included payroll, costs of products, number of employees, annual revenue, IRS tax, and more. The fake documents were submitted to lenders in Idaho and New Jersey. The influencer intercepted the money and then re-routed it to herself and those in her friends and family circle. She used a New Jersey payroll processor to issue the loan amount by circulating cheques in her inner circle.

Rendon isn’t the first one, who had been booked for misusing the COVID-19 loan program by the US government. Previously, a Florida pastor and his son were detained for allegedly obtaining a sum of $8.4 million from COVID-19 relief funds. They fraudulently embezzled the money to purchase a luxury mansion on the Disney World property. The father and son duo identified to be Evan Edwards and Josh were the president and vice-president of ASLAN International Ministry.

In 2022, a man namely David T Hines received $3.4 million through COVID-19 relief funds for fabricating an ailing South Florida moving business. One of his luxurious purchases was alleged to be a super posh Lamborghini Huracan Evo.

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