Jan. 10 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors accused a New York state lawmaker Tuesday of committing fraud to steal funds intended for people who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Prosecutors say Pamela Harris, a Democratic New York State Assemblywoman representing parts of Brooklyn, received $25,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after she allegedly lied about the storm forcing her out of her Brooklyn home and into a Staten Island residence.
Prosecutors also say she kept $23,000 in New York City funds that were supposed to go to the nonprofit Coney Island Generation Gap and told two people to lie to FBI investigators working on the case, the Albany Democrat & Chronicle reported.
“As alleged in the indictment, the defendant defrauded government agencies out of tens of thousands of dollars in public funds and tried to fraudulently obtain even more,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement. “She conducted her schemes victimizing the federal and New York City governments, and then obstructed a federal investigation into her crimes while a sitting New York State Assemblywoman. When she learned that law enforcement was investigating her various fraud schemes, she pressured witnesses to lie to the FBI and cover them up.”
Harris 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.
Harris pleaded not guilty to all charges and was freed on a $150,000 bond.