How Danielle Miller Became a Scammer

Danielle Miller under house arrest in Soho.
Photo: Ashley Pena

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Danielle Miller walked into Rikers Island at 3 a.m. in the dead of winter, shivering in a flimsy Missoni cover-up, Hervé Léger bathing suit, and Valentino Rockstud heels, carrying a Prada purse — the outfit she’d been wearing when she was arrested on a warrant related to a credit-card scam. She fell asleep under a pile of coats and woke up surrounded by a dozen other detainees in the same filthy holding cell, waiting for what would happen next. The daughter of wealthy Manhattan parents and a graduate of the prestigious Horace Mann School, she was ill prepared for a place like Rikers, but she did have one advantage: She knew how to make friends.

She picked up a few there who showed her the ropes. There was a small firecracker of a girl named Julie who was quick to start fights and a gorgeous woman with hair down to her butt named Krystal who took to Miller right away. “They were like, ‘Don’t worry. We got you,’ ” Miller says. While they waited for their dorm assignments, one of the women braided her hair into cornrows, because she felt like she needed to look “gangsta” to fit in, plus “your hair gets really fucked up in jail and they have terrible soap.”

Krystal and Miller were paired together and placed in Three East B. The trouble started almost immediately. “The second I get into the dorm, these girls are like, ‘Ooh, sexy girl.’ They tried to touch me and shit, and Krystal was like, ‘Get the fuck away from her.’ ” As the tensions mounted, Krystal threw off her shower shoes — “It means you’re going to fight”— and the commotion drew the attention of the “boom squad,” a team of correction officers who break up fights. They dragged Krystal away in handcuffs, and Miller found herself alone again.

Then Miller heard someone asking her “in this crazy accent” who had braided her hair. It was Anna Delvey, the notorious Soho grifter. “Come here, I have a dummy bed next to me. It’s for you,” she told Miller. Delvey was also a frequent target of the boom squad, Miller says, which demanded she change out of her pajamas and into her uniform. “They’d be like, ‘Untie your pants.’ And she’d be like, ‘You untie my pants.’ Because you could roll up your pants and make them fashionable. The COs really didn’t fuck with Anna, because she was so annoying to them.” Delvey had figured out how to survive Rikers, and she started giving Miller lessons, advising her on the safest place to make her bed (along the back wall, never exposed in the middle of the room) and teaching her how to trade potato chips for the chance to cut in line for the phones. (Delvey did not respond to requests for comment.)

Miller was eventually placed in a different area, where she met another scammer, Ciera Blas, who was locked up for violating parole after she was convicted of identity theft. Blas had been arrested at Bergdorf Goodman in 2015 and was accused of running a ring that skimmed people’s credit cards to fuel a $22,000 shopping binge. On her Instagram account, @It_Girlsz_Closet_, she allegedly took requests for luxury items to lift and resell. The account looked just like any other influencer’s page — except that the designer goods Blas flaunted had been purchased illegally.

Miller, who grew up just a few blocks away from Bergdorf, was in some ways the type of woman Blas had been pretending to be for years. “She was so confident in her fake façade, but it was really interesting because she was trying so hard to have all the things that I’ve always had,” says Miller, who respected Blas’s zero-fucks-given attitude, which stood out even at Rikers.

Miller and Blas didn’t interact much, but their meeting set off a chain of events that would draw them both deeper into the criminal world than either had gone before. By the time their friendship fell apart, stolen credit cards would be the least of their troubles. “I was interested to know why this mean girl wanted to be friends with me,” Miller says now. “And in the end I think it was because she wanted to use me for whatever crimes we were accused of.”

Miller behind the wheel in Miami and FaceTime with Anna Delvey in 2021.
Miller behind the wheel in Miami and FaceTime with Anna Delvey in 2021.

Miller got out of Rikers a few months before Blas, released on a warm summer day in 2019 with $30 in cash and a single-ride MetroCard. Less than 24 hours later, she’d made it to an old friend’s place in Soho and was diving back into the city’s club scene at Public, the Electric Room, and Sapphire, though it was an adjustment: “In jail, where there’s crowds, there’s fights.” The Soho friend allowed her to crash in his triplex apartment, but her parents had already cut her off, and many of her old friends distanced themselves from her, leaving her to depend on people she met at Rikers.

In early 2020, Miller was at a buzzy Upper East Side restaurant when she saw Blas. It was there, Miller says, that Blas first offered her a job. “Oh, you can do something that’s super-easy,” Blas told her, according to Miller. “It’s really not legal. It’s a little bit illegal.” The offer was to be a “trapper” — someone who could credibly take on the persona of one of their identity-theft victims — but Miller didn’t care for that term. (Through her lawyer, Blas denies all of this.) “Honestly, I more so consider myself a con artist than anything,” she says. “You know how they have that saying that you can sell ice to an Eskimo? If there’s something that I want, I’m getting it.”

When the pandemic hit, Miller fled to Miami, holing up in an ocean-view two-bedroom hotel apartment. Blas soon followed. They secured a baby-blue Porsche Boxster and motored aimlessly around Miami blasting Noah Cyrus songs. “It was COVID, and everything was closed,” Miller says. “We were just home on Instagram the whole day.”

In heavily filtered posts, Miller detailed spending sprees with Blas at Balmain and Gucci, joyriding in Rolls-Royces, and swilling bottles of Dom Pérignon. “She and I actually became friends,” says Miller. “And she doesn’t have many friends. She confided a lot in me, which she told me really surprised her about herself. But it didn’t really surprise me, because, as we both know, I’m really charismatic and people like to tell me stuff.”

Miller’s friends from before Rikers noticed the difference right away. “I mean, more power to her if she’s going home every day with 97 Fendi bags,” one former classmate says. “So when she got arrested, we were like, ‘Oh, okay.’ ” A former friend remembers one post from this period. “When she got out of jail, she released this Instagram where she was, like, tooting what looked like yay in a convertible in broad daylight, playing Young Dolph. It was crazy.” (Miller denies posting herself doing drugs on social media or listening to Young Dolph.)

When Florida threw itself open later that spring, Miller and Blas were ready. Miller is accused of walking into an AT&T store in May 2020 armed with the identity of a Los Angeles woman whose filing cabinet had been stolen by burglars and using the information to take over the woman’s account. Then she and Blas rented a Jaguar and rolled up to a Chase drive-through in Sarasota, where Miller allegedly pulled out a fake passport card with her own photo under the L.A. woman’s name and tried to withdraw $8,000 from the woman’s account. The hijacked phone account passed a verification attempt made by Chase, but the bank was still suspicious enough to call a backup number. The next number the bank called was 911. When the cops arrested Miller and Blas, they reported recovering three Illinois driver’s licenses under different names with Miller’s photo, along with credit cards to match; six separate cell phones; and $25,000 in cash. They were arraigned, and both pleaded not guilty.

For the second time in less than a year, Miller found herself behind bars.

To understand how Danielle Miller ended up where she did, she says, you’d have to know why she has spent the past 20 years trying, with increasing desperation, to be anyone but herself. She grew up a block from Central Park, in an apartment building neighboring the New York Athletic Club and the Ritz-Carlton. Her father, Michael Miller, an estate attorney, is the former president of the New York State Bar Association. Her mother had been a Rockette for 20 years before retiring to raise Danielle and her younger brother. The Millers sent Danielle to Michael’s alma mater, Horace Mann, which is where I first met her — she was a year behind me.

Back then, in the early aughts, the hypersexuality of rich and famous teenagers, like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, who were just a few years older than we were, was something to emulate. Sex tapes had made global superstars of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, whose younger brother Barron was at one point a good friend of Miller’s. Up and down the Upper East Side, wealthy teens flashed their thongs in Juicy sweat suits and low-rise Hudson jeans. Girls lined up for Brazilian waxes at J Sisters after it was prominently featured in the Gossip Girl books.

Mug shot from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in 2020.

In 2004, when Miller was in eighth grade, a boy she had a crush on dared her in an AIM message to prove she wasn’t a “prude.” She grabbed the new Sony VAIO laptop her father had given her for Christmas and propped it on the ledge of her shower stall. She disrobed, picked up the handle of a Swiffer mop, and pressed record. She made three sexual videos in all and emailed them to the boy.

The boy forwarded the clips to Miller’s best friend, who in turn sent them to two people, and soon it had reached everyone that they knew. It spread rapidly from there. About a week later, the dean of the eighth grade called her parents’ landline while they were out, and she answered. He said he knew about the videos, implying she was in trouble, and asked if she wanted him to tell her parents. “I was like, ‘No, no, no. I’ll tell them. I’ll tell them,’ ” she recalls. “So then they came home and then I just remember running to my mom, crying hysterically, and I was like, ‘Something bad happened. Please don’t hate me.’”

That the videos would get out seems obvious now, but in 2004, it was not. Miller and her classmates had never seen something go viral before. “It was one of those things where you heard it from one person and then you heard it from everyone all at the same moment,” a former classmate says. “I remember my brother was also talking about it. His room was right next to mine, and I feel like we both were like, ‘Oh my God,’ at the same moment.”

Miller didn’t know how far the video had spread until the next day at school when she arrived late to an assembly. As she ran down the atrium’s stairs, out of breath, the room fell silent. A friend she had known since preschool motioned for her to sit next to him. “You want to make the next video with me?” she recalls him saying. She ran to the bathroom and started sobbing.

Over and over, Miller found herself shamed as the one who had done something wrong. She was also left largely on her own to process what had happened. Therapy might have helped, but she says she had just two visits with a shrink. “It’s not my parents’ fault, but I didn’t see a psychiatrist. What? Why did I not see a psychiatrist? Come on. I’m a 13-, 14-year-old girl. Force me to go to see a psychiatrist,” she says. “I was fucking 13 … I don’t think I’d even had my period yet.”

Instead, she stayed home for a week and debated switching schools. But she concluded that if she transferred somewhere else, they would know her only as “Swiffer Girl.” At least at Horace Mann, the school she had attended since she was 2 years old, people had memories of her that had nothing to do with the videos. But it didn’t happen. “I don’t think anyone remembered who she was before,” the former classmate says. Everywhere she went, people whispered. Parents told their kids not to invite her over.

The videos hadn’t circulated just among New York’s private-school students and their friends, though Miller still remembers the name of every classmate who mocked her on a page dedicated to the scandal on the now-defunct social-media site Friendster. The videos also ended up on the file-sharing programs LimeWire and Kazaa. Her story, sometimes referred to as Swiffergate, became one of the world’s first well-known revenge-porn scandals, cited multiple times in this magazine as well as in Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs. The author Helen Schulman wrote an acclaimed novel, This Beautiful Life, revolving around a nearly identical incident, which Miller heard was “terrible.”

By the next year, in ninth grade, Miller had decided to abandon what was left of her identity as a nice, quiet girl. “I became a different person,” she says. She got her first fake ID and doubled down on the scandal, becoming “that girl,” as the former classmate describes her, the one you’d call “if you wanted to do something bad or go out on a Wednesday night and get drunk in ninth grade.”

“I lived in a never-ending Gossip Girl episode,” Miller wrote while she was incarcerated. “Everyone wanted to be friends with Swiffer Girl. Everyone wanted Swiffer Girl at their parties. Everyone wanted pictures with Swiffer Girl. Everyone wanted Swiffer Girl’s autograph. Everyone wanted to smoke hookah with Swiffer Girl. Everyone’s parents didn’t want their kids around Swiffer Girl. Everyone wanted to try drugs with Swiffer Girl. Everyone wanted to pregame with Swiffer Girl. Everyone wanted to fuck Swiffer Girl.”

Friends from that time remember that Miller had an ambiguous relationship with facts. For her 16th birthday, her parents threw her a party in Soho with a guest list so large even I was invited. Toward the end of the night, an older man with a shaggy haircut wearing very tight red pants took to the dance floor to perform a live rendition of Rod Stewart’s “Hot Legs.” Although Miller explicitly denies it and says she had no role in booking the performer, people who were there say she attempted to pass him off as the real deal. Lindsey Metselaar, the host of the popular millennial dating podcast We Met at Acme, even tweeted about the scandal: “NYC people: remember when Danielle Miller had a fake Rod Stewart at her Sweet 16?”

The former friend also recalls Miller claiming her dad owned their building, despite the family’s living in a perfectly lovely two-bedroom co-op. “If you owned the building, why would you have a fourth-floor apartment that’s two bedrooms? It doesn’t make any sense,” the former friend says. “There were a lot of things like that, where it wasn’t enough to be like, ‘My dad’s a lawyer and we have a second home and we live well.’ It had to be, ‘Oh yeah, we just got it going on.’ ”

While Miller denies ever saying this, it is that kind of deception that she freely admits to now. “I used to lie a lot,” she says. “I know that about myself. I lie about stupid shit.”

With Paris and Barron Hilton in 2013; with her business partner, Mackinzie Dae, in 2018. Photo: Mian Joma/nohofoto/BACKGRID.
With Paris and Barron Hilton in 2013; with her business partner, Mackinzie Dae, in 2018. Photo: Mian Joma/nohofoto/BACKGRID.

After partying the rest of her way through high school, Miller opted to get far away from Horace Mann and Swiffer Girl by enrolling in Arizona State University. It wasn’t far enough. In her freshman year, she took a class whose assigned reading included passages about Swiffer Girl from Female Chauvinist Pigs.

The story followed her everywhere she went, she says. When she told people she had gone to Horace Mann, their first question was often whether she knew Swiffer Girl. A fraternity brother outed her in internal listserv emails. Someone else shoved a letter under her dorm-room door that read, “I know who you are, Swiffer Girl.”

Nevertheless, in 2012, she graduated and headed west, to Los Angeles, where she spent several months living in a pool-cabana suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and bouncing around entry-level PR jobs. As she tells it, she began dating a rich DJ and spent a lot of time with celebrities: SoulCycling with Barron Hilton and attending his birthday party with his sister Paris, ordering bottle service with David Arquette, hanging out with Ron Jeremy, and partying at music festivals with Pharrell and Skrillex.

“Her whole clout is the fact that she had this scandal, that she’s this Horace Mann legend or whatever. That’s the only way to cope with the pain of what happened to her, in a sense: being a larger-than-life character,” the former friend says.

In 2013, Miller fell in with a group of socialites she had known tangentially in high school, including Quentin Esme Brown, whose Vegas wedding to P. C. Peterson, a former star of Bravo’s NYC Prep and grandson of Pete Peterson, the founder of the private-equity firm Blackstone, made headlines after Tiffany Trump served as their flower girl.

“She reintroduced herself into my life, and she was new to L.A., and I guess I felt obligated to hang out with her,” Brown says. That year, Miller asked Brown to purchase a table at a charity event hosted by the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, where she had been working for six months — but Brown balked at the $4,000 price tag. A few weeks later, she says, Miller offered to pay the cost, so Brown decided to go.

Weeks later, Brown fielded an angry call from her mother, who had reviewed her bank account and accused her of spending $20,000 in just one month. “And so I went to the bank, and I was with my roommate at the time, and we asked them to print out every check that had come out of my checkbook,” Brown says. “All of a sudden, five checks came through that said ‘Danielle Miller.’ She had written them to herself” — including one for the amount of the Chamber of Commerce event. Brown’s mother took pity on Miller, and instead of calling the cops, she called Miller’s dad. According to Brown, he said Miller would pay back the money and offered to cover it if she didn’t. According to Miller, none of this happened.

“It was a creepy experience to me. This is someone who’s stayed at my house a bunch in my life, who has probably gone into my drawers when I was in the shower. It felt honestly very unsettling, violating, and weird — and somewhat humorous, because it just felt unbelievable,” Brown says. “Really, honestly, to me she’s very chameleon-like, cold, and like an unrecognizable person from the person I knew.”

After learning of the allegations, Miller’s parents cut off any lingering financial support: The brand-new convertible SLK350 Mercedes they leased for her was returned to the dealership. Yet Miller continued spending wildly in L.A., seemingly awash in cash and designer goods, all on the salary of an entry-level flack. “Occasionally, we would go out with a bunch of friends, and we’d all put our credit cards down, and she would try to be like, ‘No, I got this,’ ” the former friend says. “We’d be like, ‘What? It’s hundreds of dollars. Where are you getting this money from?’ ”

One night in early 2015, Miller was trying to show off for friends by sliding down the handrail outside a club when she slipped on her Louboutins and broke her back. A friend called her parents to let them know she was hurt. Although her parents stayed in New York while Miller recovered in L.A., she says she learned that during their estrangement, they had hired a private investigator to keep tabs on her. Miller’s father says, “I never hired a PI to track my daughter.” She says, “I was happy because it means that they actually cared about me and wanted to know that I was okay.”

Miller under house arrest in Soho in 2022.

After reuniting with her parents, Miller seemed determined to get her life in order — to return, perhaps, to the path she’d abandoned after Swiffergate. In 2016, she was accepted to Pepperdine University’s law school, even though she says her father “thought I’d be a terrible attorney … He said my ethics were off the wall.” The summer after her first year, she moved back to the city and secured an internship with New York justice Sherry Klein Heitler, an old family friend. By all accounts, Miller excelled in the role, impressing Heitler with her character and work ethic. “She is exceptionally outgoing but also warm and kindhearted,” Heitler wrote in a reference letter. “I know that she has a great career ahead of her.”

The summer she interned for Heitler, however, Miller had begun paying for frequent trips to the Body Factory Salon on the Upper West Side using stolen credit-card information for appointments. When one of the payments was stopped after a report of fraudulent activity, the spa took notice. Miller returned to Pepperdine, but while she was back at home for Thanksgiving break, she booked another appointment and was met at the spa by police. She was charged with identity theft and grand larceny for nearly $5,000 in services.

Miller tried to talk her way out of it. She told the arresting officer, according to court documents, that her dad was the head of the bar, that she was working for a judge, and that she hadn’t made the appointments anyway: Her assistant had. It didn’t work, and she was hauled before a judge. (“I knew where I was because I had given tours of the court a million times,” she says.) Her family connections did come in handy at her arraignment, where she was released on her own recognizance after being represented by attorney Barry Kamins, who is also part of Harvey Weinstein’s legal team.

The terms of Miller’s release pending trial allowed her to leave New York for Pepperdine. I asked her whether she thought she might have made it as a lawyer if she hadn’t been busted. She doesn’t think so. If she had not been arrested at the spa, she says, “honestly, then something else would’ve just happened. I can’t live life thinking, Oh, what if this didn’t happen? What if that didn’t happen?, because then just some other crazy thing would’ve happened to me. Because my life has just been a series of crazy events.”

Some time after she was released from custody, Miller’s mother took her to a vegan sushi restaurant in the city. “My mom had lunch with me and was like, ‘Your father doesn’t want to have any communications with you anymore, but I still want to have a relationship,’ and then my mom stopped talking to me,” Miller says.

Back in California, Miller was introduced by a wealthy mutual friend to Mackinzie Dae, a model and Marine veteran working in influencer marketing. Dae says he found Miller “smart and clever and crafty.” They launched a PR firm together and got to work producing a music video for YouTube stars the Dolan Twins.

Dae was under the impression that Miller’s father was bankrolling their ventures. He showed me email chains with him, Miller, and her father. After a dispute, Dae says he got an email from Michael Miller’s “secretary” that read, “Hey, I’m really worried about Danielle. Have you talked to her?” It wasn’t long before he suspected the emails were all coming from Miller. “It was her trying to make me feel bad,” he says. “That was probably one of the craziest moments of the whole thing, having to watch her have conversations with herself acting as three different people and responding to them.” This, too, Miller denies.

When he tried to end the partnership, Dae says Miller emailed him claiming she was suicidal. He called the police, who brought her in for a psychiatric evaluation. She claims he faked the messages and sent them to the authorities. After the split, Dae says he guessed her email password — “ilovedanielle” — and got into her account, where he says he discovered she had opened credit cards and business loans in his name. Miller says they had taken out the cards together and denies there were any loans. He says she took him and the wealthy mutual friend for close to $200,000, which Miller denies. “It was a pretty wild experience. Probably one of the most insane that I’ve had personally. And I’ve been in two wars,” he says. “This girl is just so clever, man. You know, if she would have just channeled her powers for good, she would have been great. She could have been helping people.”

It was a few months after Dae cut ties with her that Miller was arrested at the San Diego border on the way back from a birthday trip to Mexico with friends. She had been picked up on a warrant issued after she missed a court appearance in New York related to the spa charges. This time, she was represented by a public defender, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to a year minus time served in Rikers — where she met Ciera Blas.

When Dae heard Danielle had been arrested again, he says he breathed a sigh of relief. “To be honest with you, I’m happy to hear that she’s in trouble and getting arrested. Because there’s always, in the back of my mind, the thought that she’s out there doing things. Every time I get a random call that says I have a mortgage out there or something, I’m like, Oh God. This is Dani. ”

After Blas bailed Miller out of her second stint in jail, this one in Florida, she was declared indigent by the court. But she wouldn’t remain that way for long. She stayed in a luxury apartment with a friend of a friend from Rikers — a young woman nicknamed Egypt, who had been arrested for allegedly drugging men and robbing them of their expensive watches — and, according to authorities, began plotting her next scam. This time, Miller would be accused of targeting the federal government’s pandemic-relief funds.

Authorities say Miller applied for at least ten loans from the Small Business Association, including Economic Injury Disaster Loans, using a mix of stolen identities. Some of them were from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, which she is accused of hacking into to steal the identities of 27 people. Several of the loan applications were denied as potentially fraudulent, but on July 21, 2020, the government deposited $124,900 into a bank account Miller is accused of opening in another person’s name. Over the next eight months, authorities say, she was given another four loans totaling nearly $1 million. She is also accused of using a stolen identity to defraud the state of Arizona for $6,200 in unemployment benefits.

Scammers tend to move from one score to the next, Miller says, riding each opportunity like a wave, and “COVID was a huge wave.” When asked how she learned about waves and how scamming works, Miller made it sound easy. “I literally just researched on the internet. It was very readily available to me. No one taught me it. I just overheard some things while I was in Rikers Island,” she says. “And then I read everything on Telegram. Telegram is really where they talk about a lot of illegal shit.” Using Telegram groups, she soon found websites where personal information is freely available. Once, just for fun, she tried to see if she could get Warren Buffett’s Social Security number. She found it in no time. Could anyone learn to scam?

“You can literally go to a dot-com website. You don’t even need to go to the dark web. You don’t need a Tor browser. You don’t need any of those things,” Miller says. “You can go on Telegram and join a group of scammers, and they’re all just bragging and sending pictures. You just put in the search for whatever you’re interested in. So say it’s SBA loans — you type in E-I-D-L or just S-B-A. And then there’s a bunch of chats of people just selling SBA information.”

“It’s really right at your fucking fingertips,” she says.

Thanks, perhaps, to the SBA loans, Miller posted her Chanel, Gucci, and Prada outfits on Instagram. She booked seats on private jets from Miami to Los Angeles, where she spent $5,500 at the Petit Ermitage, the authorities say, and dined at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She posted videos of herself driving a Rolls-Royce convertible down palm-lined streets. Back in Miami, she rented an all-white apartment with marble everywhere in the luxury Icon building, allegedly under one of her victims’ names. Although she insists she paid for her Miami lifestyle with her own money, she’s open about her knowledge of and status within the world of scams. “Literally everyone wants to work with me,” Miller says. “I’m so sought after it’s insanity. My Instagram account from me being locked up has thousands, thousands of DMs asking me what my Telegram name is to work with me. Thousands.”

This past May, Miller was recovering from Brazilian butt-lift surgery in the luxury Miami apartment with the help of two private nurses and an OxyContin prescription when the front desk called her down to the lobby. When she opened her door, federal agents rushed in. “It was really scary. I was in my body suit and they pushed me against the wall and I couldn’t even move. I was literally like, ‘I just got surgery, I just got surgery, I just got surgery!’ ” she says. “They’re like, ‘Oh, we know.’ ”

Inside, agents found a Rolex, a Dior blouse and shoes, a Louis Vuitton bag, and Rimowa luggage stacked in the walk-in closet — all allegedly purchased with the fraudulent SBA loans. (Miller says her parents and boyfriend gave her the designer goods.) During the raid, the Feds also seized more than $4,000 in cash and nearly $28,000 in money orders, along with several fake IDs — with bank cards to match. Authorities say they also found an iPhone that contained emails between Chime Financial and Miller in which she posed as one of her victims, writing to Chime that she was “extremely angry and in tears” over her money’s being held hostage. It reminded me of a photo caption she once posted on an Instagram Story, which she says is a joke from law school: “Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition.” Anna Delvey replied, “Tell me about it.”

Though she allegedly tried to cover her tracks by booking one of her private flights under someone else’s name, the company gave the Feds a photo of a Massachusetts driver’s license with what they said was Miller’s picture. Despite a mask blocking much of her face, ATM footage showed her “distinctive wishbone-style necklace,” according to court papers. Miller says neither photo is of her. Authorities also say they linked her to a Zipcar rented with a fake ID where they found a torn government document in the center console with “Danielle Miller” on it, which she denies as well.

To date, the Feds have seized close to $600,000 from her accounts and charged her with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. She has pleaded not guilty.

Miller and I met up recently in Manhattan. She was staying at her friend’s Soho triplex again, where she’s under house arrest pending trial on charges that carry decades behind bars. She spends most of her time watching the crowds of people walk by the ground-floor window of the apartment, which she likened to viewing live TV. She also started a TikTok account, where she has been showing off her life, despite a probation officer once advising her to delete her social media. “I mean, people are born, and then people die, and then most of the world never ever, ever comes close to getting anything that they want,” she says. “And I’ve literally had what I wanted so many times it’s crazy.”

She has to wear a slim black-box ankle tracking monitor that looks just like
the one Lindsay Lohan used to have. The monitor is uncomfortable and tends to get caught in her sheets, but she says she’s not letting it get to her. “I think that’s conditioned from what happened to me when I was younger,” she says, “that I’ll never sulk about something. If I can’t do anything about it, then what am I going to do? There’s nothing. So I’m just waiting, basically.”

Per the terms of her release, she’s only allowed to leave the house for physical-therapy sessions, so I join her for CorePower Yoga. Dressed in a camo-print one-piece with her ankle bracelet prominently displayed, she flows through the poses, or at least some of them: Danielle’s new post-surgery body is too voluptuous for her to comfortably contort. After an hour of stretching, we lie down on our mats in the dark room to set our intentions, and I hear her whisper, “Namaste.” As we leave the class, I ask Miller what her intention was.

“To call my lawyer,” she says.

Want more stories like this one?  to support our journalism and get unlimited access to our coverage. If you prefer to read in print, you can also find this article in the February 14, 2022, issue of New York Magazine.

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