Another New York Liberal got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
New York State Assemblywoman Pamela Harris has been indicted on almost a dozen counts of fraud and tampering, spending ill-gotten gains on lingerie.
The charges include witness tampering and several counts of fraud: wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The victims were New York’s children, CBS reports.
Between 2012 and 2016, Harris is accused of defrauding the New York City Council, the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city’s Build it Back Program and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York.
“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,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “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.”
DOI Commissioner Peters: This brazen corruption, as charged, tramples on the definition of a public servant. This elected official exploited the public she was elected to serve by stealing from City/fed. programs & making false statements: https://t.co/bHOz47EC6s
— NYC DOI Press Office (@DOINews) January 9, 2018
Harris spent as much as $10,000 of stolen funds on lavish vacations, paying for cruise and airline tickets for herself and her husband, and used the money to pay her exorbitant tab on lingerie at Victoria’s Secret.
In another scam, she claimed about $60,000 in federal funds from FEMA for “temporary housing assistance” after a 2012 hurricane, but her home was intact.
New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) Commissioner Mark G. Peters described to the charges as being a result of “brazen corruption.”
“The brazen corruption charged as a result of this investigation tramples on the very definition of a public servant,” stated Peters. “This elected official exploited the public she was elected to serve by stealing from City and federal programs and then concealing the fraud with false statements and asking witnesses to obstruct the investigation, according to the indictment.”
Her attorneys insisted she was not guilty and that she is a vocal advocate for the people she is charged with defrauding. NBC reports:
“Ms. Harris has been an invaluable community organizer and a well-regarded legislator. Especially given that background, we are disappointed that Ms. Harris was indicted,” her attorneys Joel Cohen and Jerry Goldfeder said in a statement. They added that she has pleaded not guilty and that the indictment does not relate to her conduct in office.
Harris joined the Assembly in a special election in 2015 and was reelected a year later, but federal prosecutors said she was scheming before she took office when she headed a non-profit group helping kids in Coney Island.
“While she was in the assembly, she stole from New Yorkers and stole city funds that were intended to go for children who needed them,” Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters said.
To top it off, prosecutors say Harris convinced witnesses to lie to federal law enforcement agents conducting the grand jury investigation.
Under state law, Harris can continue to serve the assembly and collect her $80,000 a year salary until the case is resolved. She pleaded not guilty and was released on bail Tuesday night.
The last assembly member for her district was Alec Brook-Krasny, who resigned in 2015 and was also indicted last year for Medicaid fraud.