NY state Assemblywoman Pamela Harris (left) shakes hands with a marathon runner in this photo posted the Legislature's website.
Brooklyn Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, a Democrat, has been indicted for cheating various government agencies out of tens of thousands of dollars-including almost $25,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Hurricane Sandy-and tampering with witnesses, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of NY announced on Tuesday.
Pamela Harris, who oversees Coney Island, Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights of New York City, has been charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements, bankruptcy fraud, witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to papers filed by the New York Daily News. They say she committed other fraud, including cheating the New York City Council out of discretionary funds meant for non-profits.
The Brooklyn politician was charged Tuesday with turning the nightmare aftermath of Hurricane Sandy into a money-making scheme by lying about the damage to her Brooklyn home.
All told, the government says, FEMA disbursed approximately $24,800 to Harris in temporary housing assistance between 2012 and January 2014.
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Harris, elected to the assembly in a November 2015 special election, was also charged with trying to illegally collect funds from the city's Build It Back program for Sandy victims.
Harris was being investigated around this time by a federal grand jury for various fraud schemes.
According to officials, after Harris became aware of a grand jury investigation into her alleged fraud schemes early past year, she told witnesses to lie to FBI investigators, "which the witnesses did", according to the indictment.
Harris could face 30 years in prison if she is indicted on just the top count in her 1-count indictment, according to documents.
To get CIGG's operations subsidized by the city, according to the indictment, Harris billed her nonprofit as a mentorship program that connected teens and young adults living in Coney Island to media arts.
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Associated plots sought to drain money from other government entities like the New York City Council, as well as hiding $10,010.08 from creditors in bankruptcy court, the indictment said.
Between August 2014 and July 2015, Harris, who was executive director of a not-for-profit organization in Brooklyn at the time, cheated the Council out of almost $23,000 in discretionary funding by falsely claiming the not-for-profit would use the money to rent a studio space, the court documents stated. The indictment also said she made online payments to several retailers, including Victoria's Secret, and paid her monthly mortgage.
Instead, she's accused of diverting the cash into her checking account to pay for personal expenses.
Between July 2015 and January 2017, Harris committed a almost identical scheme-but this time as a sitting Assemblywoman.
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