US influencer accused of misusing COVID relief funds to buy Bentley, luxury apartment and more
Rendon appeared in the Federal Magistrate court on 2 February. She is being prosecuted with seven charges of wire fraud and money laundering, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence
A Miami-based broker-cum-influencer has been accused of fraudulently utilising COVID-19 relief funds to bear the expenses of her lavish lifestyle. As reported by the New York Post, Daniela Rendon received $381,000 (Rs 3,15,00,298) through the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program, as per the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. But, instead of using that government funding to keep regular employees afloat during the pandemic, she allegedly distributed the fraudulent payroll money to friends and family for personal gain.
The 31-year-old who recognises herself as an “Ultra Luxury” real estate agent on LinkedIn, got a brand-new Bentley, cosmetic procedures, luxury apartment and other expensive items with the money. As claimed by prosecutors, Rendon used the money to lease a 2021 Bentley Bentayga, which had a market value of around $181,000 (Rs 1.49 crore) at that time.
Rendon appeared in the Federal Magistrate court on 2 February. She is being prosecuted for seven charges of wire fraud and money laundering, which carries a maximum of 20-year sentence. According to the Miami Herald, the prosecution alleged at her arraignment last week that she posed a flight risk to her native country Colombia. However, her defence rejected this accusation.
The mother of three will now defend herself against the charges after a judge set her bond at $150,000. In an effort to be eligible for the PPP funds, Rendon reportedly faked paperwork pertaining to her real estate business, including her annual income, payroll, costs of goods, IRS tax information, and the number of employees. She provided Idaho and New Jersey lenders with fabricated reports.
Prior to the case, Rendon had an active social media presence and used to share frequent posts on her personal Instagram handle, flaunting her high-maintenance lifestyle. She kept sharing numerous photographs of herself wearing fancy clothes, going for trips to tropical locations and travelling on private jets. Since the accusations against her came to light, she immediately deleted all of her profiles across the internet.
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