A Miami real estate agent who was charged with fraud and money laundering tied to pandemic relief funds she allegedly used to lease her white Bentley Bentayga, rent a luxury apartment and more pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Daniela Rendon, who now hangs her license with Doral-based Smart Miami Realty, was indicted in February on two counts of money laundering, seven counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. After pleading guilty this week to wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is seeking to dismiss all other charges.
Just days earlier, her fiancé, Eliasib Reyes, was indicted on similar charges tied to her case, court filings show.
Rendon has 33,500 followers on Instagram, where she’s shared photos of her lavish lifestyle, as well as her real estate listings. She removed her account after her charges became public, but later reinstated it. Rendon has worked on luxury deals in Sunny Isles Beach, promoting projects that include the Estates at Acqualina, Mansions at Acqualina and Bentley Residences.
She could face up to 20 years in prison, though the government is recommending her sentence be reduced, according to the plea agreement. She could also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $250,000.
Rendon allegedly submitted fraudulent applications for Covid-19 federal relief funds to the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program by falsifying her revenue, payroll and IRS tax forms during the pandemic, according to the complaint prepared by U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Bailyn.
The complaint alleges that she submitted fake information regarding the number of employees, monthly payroll, gross revenue and cost of goods sold to obtain two loans: a $317,290 PPP loan and a $10,000 SBA loan. She allegedly used the funds for her Biscayne Bay apartment rental, dermatology procedures and to have her designer shoes refinished.
A recent court filing reveals that Rendon also claimed she was a real estate developer as head of Rendon PA, which she falsely stated generated nearly $92 million in revenue between early 2019 and 2020. At the time, she was really a sales associate earning biweekly checks of $2,000 for the Trump Group’s A3 Development, which recently developed the Estates at Acqualina, according to the filing, which Rendon signed.
Rendon’s fiancé Reyes was also allegedly involved in the fraud. He was charged with three counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering, according to a complaint filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bailyn. Reyes is a finance manager at Braman Motors, according to the dealership’s website. He signed off on her lease of the Bentley SUV as a co-guarantor, a copy of the application included in the filings shows.
Reyes allegedly submitted fraudulent applications and received federal PPP and Economic Injury Disaster loans, via his Reyes Aviation. He allegedly used those funds in part to buy an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch (starting at more than $20,000), a Rolex Oystersteel and Everose Gold watch (more than $10,000), to fund his personal brokerage account and to pay his credit cards, according to the complaint.
Included in Rendon’s case are filings that show Reyes received a $685,000 mortgage to purchase a home near the Miami Design District for $725,000 in November.
Rendon calls Reyes her fiancé in an email regarding his taxes, in which she asks an undisclosed person if they can do Reyes’ taxes. Rendon writes that Reyes wants to “write off [an] airplane and [its] expenses” and they were advised “to at least report $90,000.”
South Florida is often referred to as the country’s fraud and money laundering capital, which was only exacerbated with the federal pandemic-era loan programs. Many alleged perpetrators used the federal funds to buy luxury cars, homes and other pricey items.
Last summer, Bal Harbour-based developer Eric Sheppard was indicted on a felony count of wire fraud for allegedly submitting “false and fraudulent” applications to obtain Covid-19 financial assistance loans on behalf of six companies he managed in four states, including three based in Bal Harbour. The government alleged he stole nearly $900,000 in PPP funds.