Jon Campbell, Democrat & Chronicle, January 9, 2019
A New York state lawmaker was accused of pocketing tens of thousands of dollars meant for Superstorm Sandy victims in an 11-count felony indictment unveiled Tuesday.
Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, D-Brooklyn, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn federal court, where she will face fraud, conspiracy, witness tampering, false statement and obstruction of justice charges.
Harris is accused by federal prosecutors of four separate fraudulent schemes, including two separate plans to pocket Superstorm Sandy funding by falsely claiming the 2012 storm forced her from her Brooklyn home and into a Staten Island residence, according to the indictment.
The 57-year-old lawmaker, who was first elected in 2015, is accused of fraudulently pocketing $25,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and failing to disclose it during her recent bankruptcy proceedings.
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.
She spent the money on household expenses, her mortgage, at stores like Victoria’s Secret and on airfare and cruise tickets, according to prosecutors.
She faces 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.
All are felonies.