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Miami real estate agent sentenced to prison for using COVID PPP funds to get Bentley, luxury apartment, and cosmetic procedures: 'Everybody was doing it'
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Miami real estate agent sentenced to prison for using COVID PPP funds to get Bentley, luxury apartment, and cosmetic procedures: 'Everybody was doing it'

A Miami real estate agent was sentenced to prison for using COVID-19 relief funds from the government to get a Bentley, a luxury apartment, and cosmetic procedures.

Daniela Rendon obtained $381,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans under her company names Rendon PA and Rendon Holdings, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida. To qualify for PPP loans, she is accused of falsifying her revenue, number of employees, and payroll at her real estate business, then submitting fraudulent IRS tax forms.

USA Today reported, "She then enrolled her friends, family members, and herself as employees of Rendon PA to disperse the checks, according to the indictment."

She purportedly wrote a 30-page thesis explaining the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and suggested a plan to launch non-profit organizations to support those affected by the pandemic.

Rendon – a self-described "Ultra Luxury" real estate agent on LinkedIn – submitted the fabricated reports to lenders in New Jersey and Idaho, according to the Miami Herald. Rendon reportedly used the payroll processor in New Jersey to facilitate the COVID relief loans through her corporate bank account. She then allegedly issued the checks to family and friends.

The Florida real estate agent used that fraudulently obtained funds from the Small Business Administration to lease a 2021 Bentley Bentayga, rent a luxury Biscayne Bay apartment, pay for cosmetic procedures, and refinish her designer shoes. Rendon reportedly operated the scam between April 2020 to April 2022.

The 31-year-old mother of three was charged with seven counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft. She faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

On Thursday, Rendon pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in April 2023 after the prosecutors dropped all of the other charges. She was sentenced to three and a half years in prison – the shortest prison sentence recommended by sentencing guidelines. Rendon will be under supervised release and owes nearly $200,000 in restitution.

Rendon said her fraudulent actions were "motivated by insatiable greed."

She said in a statement to the court, "Looking back, it becomes all too tempting to utter the words 'everybody was doing it' as a feeble attempt to rationalize my actions. I regretfully confess that I once foolishly believed that the victims of my crimes were merely the faceless entities of the U.S. Government."

In June, the Office of Inspector General of the Small Business Administration released a report that found that the federal government lost more than $200 billion in COVID-19 pandemic relief funds to potential fraud, waste, and abuse.

The report estimated that at least 17% of the total COVID relief funds valued at $1.2 trillion were stolen through fraud schemes.

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Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@Paul_Sacca →