Assemblywoman from Brooklyn charged in fraud scheme involving Superstorm Sandy funds

Assemblywoman from Brooklyn charged in fraud scheme involving Superstorm Sandy funds

Harris is at least the 45th state lawmaker to face ethical or legal charges since 2000, according to a database maintained by the USA TODAY Network.

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

"Both before and during her tenure as a public servant, as alleged, Assemblywoman Pamela Harris went to great lengths to defraud local and federal agencies out of thousands of dollars", FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said in a statement.

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.

And she allegedly used other funds to pay her lingerie tab at Victoria's Secret.

Court papers also claim Harris defrauded the City Council of almost $23,000 by saying, falsely, the money would go to pay rent for a Brooklyn nonprofit. Harris again made misrepresentations about rented studio space and again diverted the funds to her personal use, according to the indictment. Instead, she continued to live at her Coney Island home and pocketed the FEMA payments to the fake Staten Island landlord.

She was arrested Tuesday morning and was expected to make a federal court appearance for arraignment later in the day. 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.

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

"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 one scheme, prosecutors accused Ms. Harris, 57, of improperly receiving almost $25,000 in federal disaster funds by falsely claiming that she had been displaced from her Coney Island home by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

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.

Harris, 57, 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 count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of NY.

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

"We are just hearing of this". "They are very serious changes and it's important to let the justice system take its course".

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