Miami luxury agent sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for PPP fraud

Publish Date: August 21, 2023

Written by Lillian Dickerson

- Originally published at Inman News - Lillian Dickerson

Daniela Rendon was sentenced on Thursday after having misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic relief funds for her own personal luxury purchases, claiming that at the time “everybody” was doing it, according to reports.

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A Miami luxury real estate agent who misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic relief funds for her own personal luxury purchases has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years of prison, according to reports.

The agent Daniela Rendon was indicted in February on two counts of money laundering, seven counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. She pleaded guilty in April to one count of wire fraud. Other charges against her were dismissed.

Redon’s sentence, which came in last Thursday, includes three-plus years of prison time followed by three years of probation and nearly $200,000 in restitution.

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Neither Rendon nor the brokerage she was previously licensed with, Prestige Empire Realty, immediately responded to requests for comment from Inman.

In her appearance in Miami federal court on Thursday, Rendon said that she had been “motivated by insatiable greed” and that “everybody” was seemingly committing fraud to obtain Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, echoing a statement she had submitted in May. Once she was confronted by the government about her fraud, however, she said she was made aware that she had not been sticking it to the “faceless entities of the U.S. government,” but instead, “countless individuals and businesses” in duress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Redon allegedly falsified her revenue, payroll and IRS tax forms when applying for PPP and Small Business Administration (SBA) funds during the pandemic and also falsely claimed she was a real estate developer. She claimed her company Rendon PA had generated nearly $92 million in revenue between early 2019 and 2020, allegedly as a development company. But her biweekly checks at that time were in reality about $2,000 for her work as a sales agent for the Trump Group’s A3 Development, which recently developed Estates at Acqualina.

She received a PPP loan for $317,290 and a SBA loan for $10,000, according to a complaint by U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Bailyn.

Redon’s confession and 30-page written apology caused U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore to be more lenient in her sentencing, he said, which took about one year off of her jail time.

“It’s not as easy to see that you’re really stealing from your neighbors, your friends and other citizens,” Moore said. “It’s their money that goes to the Treasury that makes it possible to have these kinds of programs.”

The funds Rendon received went toward leasing a 2021 Bentley Bentayga and renting a luxury Biscayne Bay apartment, as well as getting cosmetic procedures and refurbishing her designer shoes.

Rendon’s fiancé Eliasib Reyes, who is a finance manager at Braman Motors, also committed fraud, a complaint filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bailyn shows. Reyes signed off on Rendon’s lease of her new Bentley as a co-guarantor. He also allegedly used funds from PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDLP) loans to buy an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch (priced starting at $20,000), a Rolex Oystersteel and Everose Gold watch (which cost more than $10,000), pay credit card bills and fund his personal brokerage account.

A report released in June by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General shows that 17 percent of all PPP and EIDLP funds, or roughly $200 billion, were obtained by fraudsters who misused the funds.

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