If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump as well? The idea behind the question is that it’s not good to do something stupid, even if everyone else does it. It’s a question everyone has heard from their mom at some point or another in their life. Except for Daniela Rendon. Because if her mom had told her this when she was young, maybe she wouldn’t’ have done something so stupid as to commit fraud, just because everyone else is doing it.
By all appearances in her social media, Daniela Rendon was crushing it as a real estate agent in Miami for luxurious high-end properties. But that didn’t stop her from falsifying her revenue, payroll, and IRS tax forms on fraudulent applications for Covid-19 federal relief funds to the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic. Rendon falsely stated that the company generated nearly $92 million in revenue between early 2019 and 2020 as a developer. She also falsely claimed to be a real estate developer. At the time of her applications, she was really only a sales associate earning biweekly checks of $2,000 for the Trump Group’s A3 Development. She was awarded almost $400,000 in PPP loans.
Once the relief funds were received, Rendon did not shy away from the amount of wealth she had fraudulently accumulated, regularly flaunting herself on her social media accounts and her 33,000 followers. Among other things, the money was used to lease a 2021 Bentley, rent a luxury condo, undergo cosmetic procedures and to fix a pair of her designer shoes.
On August 18, 2023, Rendon was sentenced to prison for three years. In her statement, Rendon said her actions were “motivated by insatiable greed,” but that she vowed to spend the rest of her life tirelessly seeking redemption. “Looking back, it becomes all too tempting to utter the words ‘everybody was doing it’ as a feeble attempt to rationalize my actions,” she wrote.
Great job by the COVID-19 CARES Act Fraud Task Force.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Everybody was doing it.” Miami agent sentenced to prison for PPP fraud” published by The Real Deal on August 18, 2023
The Miami agent who the federal government said misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic relief money to lease her white Bentley Bentayga, rent a luxury apartment, refinish her designer shoes and have cosmetic procedures was sentenced to prison.
Daniela Rendon was indicted in February on two counts of money laundering, seven counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. In April she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. The other charges were dismissed. On Thursday, she was sentenced to three years and five months in prison, followed by three years of probation and ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution.