Brooklyn assemblywoman indicted on fraud and other charges

Brooklyn assemblywoman indicted on fraud and other charges

Brooklyn assemblywoman indicted on fraud and other charges

On Tuesday, New York State Assemblymember Pamela Harris was indicted on multiple federal counts of fraud.

Harris is accused of defrauding the New York City Council, the city's Department of Youth and Community Development, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city's Build it Back Program and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York.

While her constituents struggled with the hurricane's devastation, "Harris was busy brewing a storm of her own - one that resulted in her receiving significant payouts by the very federal agency charged with helping those truly in need", said FBI New York field office head William Sweeney Jr.

According to the 21-page federal indictment, Harris defrauded the City Council of almost $23,000 by falsely claiming the money would cover the rent for a Brooklyn nonprofit.

Her predecessor in the Brooklyn district, Alec Brook-Krasny, was indicted past year in connection with the takedown of three pill mills accused of putting $6.3 million of opioids on the black market.

If convicted, Harris faces up to 30 years in prison.

Harris also allegedly lied and said her house had been so badly damaged that she had to move and even presented the government with fraudulent lease agreements and rent payments for another house in Staten Island. Prosecutors also claimed that Harris tried to convince the Staten Island landlord and a man to lie to the grand jury about her living in that home. Harris and her husband never lived in that rented residence.

In Nov. 2013, before she became an elected official, Harris filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Brooklyn and misrepresented her financial situation at the time, per court documents.

"When she learned that law enforcement was investigating her various fraud schemes, she pressured witnesses to lie to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and cover them up", Donoghue said in a statement.

She was specifically accused of spending $10,000 of government money to pay for airline and cruise tickets for herself and her husband. Harris again made misrepresentations about rented studio space and again diverted the funds to her personal use, according to the indictment.

To establish in bankruptcy court that she could cure any arrears, the indictment says Harris inflated her monthly income by falsely representing to the court that she was getting $1,200 in financial assistance every month from the individual identified as Landlord #2.

Just six months before she submitted her November 13, 2013, petition for bankruptcy with her husband, according to the indictment, Harris opened a new bank account and deposited $10,000 into it that same day. Authorities said her looting of government funds went on from 2012 through 2017. Prosecutors say the lab where the 59-year-old suited up after leaving office helped three pill mills defraud Medicaid to the tune of $6.3 million.

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