New York Dem Charged With Stealing Hurricane Relief Funds

In one incident in 2012 the 57-year-old allegedly turned Hurricane Sandy recovery into a money-making scheme by lying about damage to her Coney Island home. The indictment says she took nearly $25,000 from the agency and pocketed it because she did not

New York State Assemblywoman Pamela Harris has been indicted on 11 counts of fraud and tampering, accused of defrauding numerous federal and local government entities.

An 11-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn as Harris appeared in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr.

And in one alleged scheme from 2012 to 2014, officials said she filed FEMA claims stating she was forced out of her home after Sandy and had to move to Staten Island.

"In the weeks immediately following her deposit of Check 377 into her personal checking account, Harris used the funds held in the account to make online payments to several retailers, including Victoria's Secret and Kohl's, to pay the monthly mortgage payment on the Coney Island Residence, and to purchase airline and cruise tickets for herself and her spouse totaling almost $10,000", the indictment states.

This is a breaking news story.

"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.

To make matters worse, once Harris was under investigation, prosecutors alleged that she instructed witnesses to lie to FBI agents during the grand jury investigation, which they did. "This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring that those who serve the public are held accountable under the law to the same extent as the people they are privileged to serve", he added.

Court papers also claim Harris defrauded the City Council of nearly $23,000 by saying falsely the money would go to pay rent for a Brooklyn nonprofit
Court papers also claim Harris defrauded the City Council of nearly $23,000 by saying falsely the money would go to pay rent for a Brooklyn nonprofit

As part of that scheme, authorities said, Harris submitted a forged lease agreement to the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

Between that August and the following July, authorities said, Harris defrauded the New York City Council out of nearly $23,000 in so-called discretionary funding by "falsely claiming that the not-for-profit would use the funds to rent a studio space", according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

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.

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. "She conducted her schemes victimizing the federal and New York City governments, and then obstructed a federal investigation into her crimes while a sitting New York State Assemblywoman".

She was specifically accused of spending $10,000 of government money to pay for airline and cruise tickets for herself and her husband.

Just a day before she told FEMA about her Staten Island rental, the indictment says Harris made a different claim to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Her Albany and district offices were not available for comment on Tuesday.

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