Economy

South Brooklyn Assemblymember Pamela Harris indicted on fraud charges

South Brooklyn Assemblymember Pamela Harris indicted on fraud charges

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.

According to the indictment, she faces a total of 11 counts: two for wire fraud, one for wire fraud conspiracy, one for disaster relief fraud, three for false statements, two for bankruptcy fraud, one for conspiracy to obstruct justice, and one for witness tempering. NBC New York reports that the indictment also charges her with lying on a NYC Build it Back assistance application about living at the first-floor Staten Island apartment and also submitting a forged lease and rental receipts.

This is a breaking news story.

The 57-year-old spent $10,000 of her ill-gotten gains on vacation getaways, reported the New York Daily News. Prosecutors say Harris caused two individuals, including Landlord #2, to lie to federal law enforcement agents conducting this investigation. "As if these allegations weren't enough, Harris allegedly obstructed a federal investigation into the matters at hand, asking others to lie on her behalf, as alleged".

If convicted, she faces 30 years in prison on one of the FEMA charges, 20 years on each wire fraud, conspiracy, witness tampering or obstruction of justice charges and five years on each bankruptcy fraud and false statement charges. "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.

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Harris, who was elected in 2015, allegedly defrauded City Council, the city's Department of Youth and Community Development, FEMA, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city's Build It Back Program and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of NY.

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.

Between July 2015 and January 2017, Harris committed a almost identical scheme-but this time as a sitting Assemblywoman. In one of the four alleged schemes, between August 2014 and July 2015, when Harris was executive director of a not-for-profit organization in Brooklyn, she is accused of defrauding the New York City Council of $22,800 by falsely claiming the money would go toward rent for a studio art space for community use. Prosecutors say Harris did not disclose this account on forms filed with the bankruptcy court that listed her and her husband's combined cash and funds at $2,645.

According to officials, after Harris became aware of a grand jury investigation into her alleged fraud schemes early previous year, she told witnesses to lie to FBI investigators, "which the witnesses did", according to the indictment.

Harris' office did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.


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