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.
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 New York City Council of $22,800 by falsely claiming the money would go toward rent for a studio art space for community use.
Between 2012 and 2014, Harris swindled FEMA out of almost $25,000 by falsely claiming to FEMA she had been forced out of her residence by Hurricane Sandy, according to the 11-count indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn.
A Democrat who just won re-election in 2016, Pamela Harris represents District 46 in the state Assembly, covering the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Coney Island and Dyker Heights.
Photo The Legislature in Albany was in session on Tuesday, but Assemblywoman Pamela Harris was absent; her indictment on fraud charges was unsealed on Tuesday, and her arrest announced.
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.
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.
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Where her Coney Island neighbors saw devastation, crooked state Assemblywoman Pamela Harris envisioned opportunity - and cashed in.
She is also accused of keeping $23,000 in New York City funds that were meant for Coney Island Generation Gap, a non-profit she once led, and directing two people to lie to FBI investigators when they were interviewed in her case.
The politician spent $10,000 of her ill-gotten gains on vacation getaways, covering airline and cruise tickets for the politician and her husband, officials charged.
Once the city transferred the funds to CIGG's checking account, taking its balance from $772 to more than $43,000, Harris diverted the amount meant for rent to her personal bank account, according to the indictment. Authorities said her looting of government funds went on from 2012 through 2017.
Prosecutors say CIGG won another $35,000 in discretionary funding from the city council for fiscal year 2016.
In response to media reports on the bankruptcy, Harris penned an open letter about her financial woes, describing a battle with breast cancer in 2006, her mother's pancreatic cancer and her husband's 2012 work injury. 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.