Brooklyn assemblywoman indicted on fraud and other charges

10 January, 2018, 01:33 | Author: Lester Mason
  • Assemblymember Pamela Harris who represents parts of Bath Beach Bay Ridge Brighton Beach Coney Island Dyker Heights and Seagate was indicted on fraud and cover-up charges on Tuesday. File

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.

Not only was Harris accused of stealing from the government, she reportedly stole almost $25,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), that was responsible for helping NY and New Jersey rebuild after Hurricane Sandy hit the states hard in 2012.

The 57-year-old spent $10,000 of her ill-gotten gains on vacation getaways, reported the New York Daily News. She is also accused of using the money to buy lingerie at Victoria's secret.

Authorities arrested Harris Tuesday morning and charged her before a federal judge later in the day.

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.

Pamela Harris, a former correction officer elected as a Democrat in November 2015, faces an 11-count indictment in Brooklyn federal court.

Instead, she's accused of diverting the cash into her checking account to pay for personal expenses.

Prosecutors say CIGG won another $35,000 in discretionary funding from the city council for fiscal year 2016.

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And she was also accused of looting almost $25,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency by lying about damage to her Coney Island residence by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

"In furtherance of the scheme to defraud, Harris created fake lease agreements and receipts, forged Landlord #2's signature on the documents, and submitted those documents, along with the temporary housing applications, to FEMA, falsely representing that she had entered into a rental lease agreement with Landlord #2 and paid rent to live at the Staten Island residence in the months following Hurricane Sandy", the indictment states.

Harris claimed in a 2013 application to the NYC Build It Back program that she was living at the Coney Island residence.

'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, ' US Attorney Richard Donoghue told the Daily News.

"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", said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

If convicted on all 11 counts, Harris faces a maximum sentence of 55 years in prison. Harris was charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of making false statements, two counts of bankruptcy fraud, one count of witness tampering and one court of conspiracy to obstruct justice. "They are very serious changes and it's important to let the justice system take its course".

In April 2017, her predecessor, Alec Brook-Krasny-who resigned in mid-2015-was among 13 individuals indicted for turning three Brooklyn clinics into pill mills that put more than 6.3 million opioids on the black market.

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