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giftedviz.com January 19, 2018


New York Dem Charged With Stealing Hurricane Relief Funds

10 January 2018, 01:28 | Austin Hogan

New York Dem Charged With Stealing Hurricane Relief Funds

NY Lawmaker Accused of Stealing Aid Designed to Help Superstorm Sandy Victims

A NY state lawmaker was charged with 11 counts of fraud and obstruction of justice, accused of cheating government agencies out of tens of thousands of dollars, including hurricane relief money, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

From 2012 and 2016, Harris defrauded various government agencies, including the City Council, the city's Department of Youth and Community Development, FEMA, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the NYC Build It Back Program and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of NY, according to Richard Donoughue, interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of NY.

In one aspect of the case, between 2012 and 2014 Harris defrauded FEMA out of almost $25,000 by falsely claiming she had been forced out of her home by Hurricane Sandy.

Prosecutors said she committed other frauds, including cheating the New York City Council out of discretionary funds meant for nonprofits.

Harris is the second person in a row to represent the 46th Assembly District in Brooklyn to have been indicted.

Pamela Harris, 57, of Brooklyn, was arrested and faces an 11-count indictment.

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.

South Brooklyn Assemblymember Pamela Harris, who represents Bay Ridge, Coney Island, Bath Beach and Dyker Heights, was arraigned in federal court on Tuesday for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from government agencies and tampering with witnesses. Harris and her husband never lived in that rented residence.

Last year, when she became aware of the investigation, the elected official went to friends with a request that they lie to FBI agents, the indictment charged.

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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.

Harris, who was elected to the assembly in a special election in November 2015, fended off a primary challenge in September 2016.

Along with airline and cruise tickets, the money went toward clothing from Victoria's Secret.

She instead diverted the cash into her checking account to cover personal expenses in 2015, the indictment charged.

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

Meanwhile, according to the indictment, Harris "concealed financial assets from the bankruptcy court to avoid having the assets used to pay her creditors".

Pamela Harris, 57, from Brooklyn, was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements, bankruptcy fraud, witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to the New York Daily News.

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



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