Who is Daniela Rendon? Miami influencer charged for using COVID relief fund to buy a Bentley and designer shoes

(image via Daniela Rendon/Instagram)
Rendon was accused of falsifying documents to seem eligible for PPP funds (image via Daniela Rendon/Instagram)

On Thursday, February 2, the Department of Justice announced that Miami influencer Daniela Rendon had been indicted for fraudulently using COVID-19 relief funds to buy luxury goods.

According to the New York Post, Daniela Rendon was given $381,000 through the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), an initiative designed to help entrepreneurs for sustaining their businesses. Prosecutors claimed, however, that Rendon used the money for designer shoes, a luxury apartment, cosmetic procedures, and a 2021 Bentley Bentayga.

Federal authorities stated that to pull off the scheme, Rendon had falsified documents related to a real estate business to seem eligible for the PPP program. She has been charged with seven counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft.


Daniela Rendon laid an elaborate ploy to get her hands on the PPP

As per her LinkedIn Profile, Daniela Rendon is a luxury real estate agent who curates high-end apartments. Born in Colombia, she was educated as a nurse at Miami Dade College before briefly working in the cosmetic surgery industry as a Surgery Coordinator in 2014. By 2017, she had transitioned to the real estate sector.

Rendon posted on her LinkedIn:

"It is my absolute pleasure to serve my clients in the most luxurious city in the world."

Rendon's social media profiles were tied to her real estate career, as she created the impression of an opulent lifestyle that her audience would strive towards. Beyond Miami, her online profile indicated that she also sold properties in Dubai. However, NBC Miami stated that she had been accused of submitting fraudulent applications for COVID-19 relief funds to fund the lifestyle she flashed online.

The Department of Justice alleged:

"Rendon submitted fraudulent applications seeking COVID-19 relief funds from the Small Business Administration and PPP. She is alleged to have falsified her revenue and payroll and submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms."

It added that to continue the ruse, Rendon supposedly sent fraudulent checks to friends and family to create the impression that her request for PPP funds was legitimate.

"To disburse the funds, she is alleged to have enrolled with a payroll processor to issue fraudulent payroll checks to herself, family members, and friends."

While at her arraignment, prosecutors claimed that Rendon might be a flight risk as she could return to her native Colombia, her attorney denied this. Rendon's defense attorney, Sam Rabin, said that his client was a permanent resident of America with three children in the country. He said that, as a result, there was no need to detain her.

Rabin said:

“We had a hard-fought detention hearing and were able to get her a bond. Now we’re going to move on and defend this case.”

Soon after her arrest, most of Daniela Rendon's social media profiles were private.

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Edited by Sayati Das