Brooklyn assemblywoman indicted on fraud and other charges

Arraigned

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release that Pamela Harris, a New York State Assemblywoman, was indicted for a number of offenses, including wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and making false statements.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn announced an 11-count indictment against a Brooklyn assemblywoman on Tuesday, alleging a raft of fraud, witness tampering and other charges, just the latest allegation of corruption and bad behavior among legislators in Albany.

She represents Bay Ridge, Coney Island, Dyker Heights and other communities nearby.

Harris allegedly defrauded $25,000 from FEMA between 2012 and 2014 by falsely claiming she had been displaced from her Coney Island home by Hurricane Sandy. They say she committed other fraud, including cheating the New York City Council out of discretionary funds meant for non-profits.

New York Assembly woman 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.

In July 2016, Harris allegedly arranged for Build It Back contractors to enter the residence adjacent to her Coney Island home by claiming on paperwork that her husband "was the owner "by will" of the neighboring structure.

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. Prosecutors also claimed that Harris tried to convince the Staten Island landlord and a man to lie to the grand jury about her living in that home.

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"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", said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

'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, ' US Attorney Richard Donoghue told the Daily News.

Between August 2014 and July 2015, Harris, who was executive director of a not-for-profit organization in Brooklyn at the time, cheated the Council out of almost $23,000 in discretionary funding by falsely claiming the not-for-profit would use the money to rent a studio space, the court documents stated.

Harris is accused of using some of the fraudulent funds to buy $10,000 worth of airline and cruise tickets for herself and her husband, make online payments to Victoria's Secret and Kohl's. She then did the "nearly identical scheme" once she became an assemblywoman. She again deceived the Council by saying the funds would be used for rental space.

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

Just six months before she submitted her November 13, 2013, petition for bankruptcy with her husband, according to the indictment, Harris opened a new bank account and deposited $10,000 into it that same day.

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