You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#45 in a series)

Pamela Harris, a Brooklyn assemblywoman, was indicted yesterday.

…accused of four counts of making false statements, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of bankruptcy fraud, and a single count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to Richard P. Donoghue, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Ms. Harris is a “retired New York City correction officer” who took office in 2015. She is, of course, innocent until proven guilty, but it sounds like her fraud was wide-ranging, and the prosecution has plenty of evidence:

In one scheme, authorities accused Ms. Harris of trying to capitalize on a natural disaster, improperly receiving nearly $25,000 in federal funds by falsely claiming that she had been displaced from her Coney Island home by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In another, she is accused of siphoning money from a nonprofit she ran to pay her mortgage, take vacations and shop at Victoria’s Secret, according to the indictment.

The charges suggest a striking degree of planning and elaborate attempts to cover up illegal actions. Prosecutors said, for example, that Ms. Harris used a forged lease to draw down discretionary funds from the City Council, money that was supposed to be used to rent a studio space for the nonprofit, which seeks to involve children and young adults in the arts. Instead, Ms. Harris diverted the money to her personal checking account. All told, some $35,000 was received in two separate instances using such funds, prosecutors said.
In the Hurricane Sandy scheme, Ms. Harris is accused of creating fake lease agreements and receipts, and forging a landlord’s signature, to receive housing assistance money from FEMA for 14 months after the storm, a ploy that she also used to receive financial assistance to repair her Coney Island home in 2016. And once she became aware of a federal investigation last year, Ms. Harris told potential witnesses to lie to federal agents, the authorities said.

(Hattip to Mike the Musicologist, who pointed out that the NYPost coverage waits until paragraph 21 to mention Ms. Harris’s party affiliation. Say what you will about the NYT, but they got that into paragraph 2.)

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