Monday, November 24, 2014

Follow us:
Follow @NY1 on Twitter Follow NY1 News on Facebook Follow NY1 News on Google+ Subscribe to this news feed 

News

Rep. Grimm Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Fraud Charges

  • Text size: + -
TWC News: Rep. Grimm Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Fraud Charges
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, entered a not guilty plea in federal court in Brooklyn Monday over allegations he defrauded the government of more than $1 million while owning a Manhattan restaurant.

He was released on $400,000 bond, posting his Staten Island home as his bond, and was ordered to surrender his passport and firearm.

The 20-count indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch, FBI New York Field Office Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos and IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Richard Weber.

Grimm is charged with five counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal tax returns, one count of conspiring to defraud the U.S., one count of impeding the Internal Revenue Service, one count of health care fraud, one count of engaging in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employ unauthorized aliens, two counts of perjury and one count of obstructing an official proceeding.

"Michael Grimm had a choice, and it is the choice faced by every business owner in America. He could run a business legitimately, or succumb to the lure of easy money and try to cheat his way to success," Lynch said.

Federal investigators say the charges stem from between 2007 and 2010, when he was the co-owner of "Healthalicious," a fast food restaurant on the Upper East Side.

Prosecutors allege that he paid workers off the books and hired people with illegal status.

They allege that he hid more than $1 million in income, depriving the U.S. government of tax revenue in the process.

"When it came to his restaurant, Michael Grimm never met a tax he didn't lie to evade," Lynch said.

After the arraignment, the former Marine briefly addressed the media, choosing the veterans' memorial in downtown Brooklyn as his backdrop, steps away from the courthouse.

"I didn't abandon my post when I was being fired upon in combat, I didn't abandon my post when I thought my identity was compromised and I was deep undercover as an FBI agent, and I am not abandoning my post now," he said.

Grimm expressed gratitude to his supporters and called the two-year-long case being built against him a "political witch hunt."

He also pledged to continue serving his constituents living in the 11th Congressional District while fighting the allegations.

"Since day one, the press has been fed all types of innuendos and accusations to support, and let me be very clear, a political witch hunt. And this political witch hunt was designed to do a couple of things, but first and foremost, assassinate my character and remove me from office," Grimm said.

The congressman did not take any questions or respond to the precise allegations.

Separately, Grimm has been under investigation for possible campaign finance violations since his first run for Congress in 2009.

He was elected to the House in 2010, representing Staten Island and southwest Brooklyn, and is currently seeking re-election.

Grimm made national headlines in January when he physically threatened NY1 Washington reporter Michael Scotto for asking about the investigation during an interview.

Grimm has resigned his position on the House Financial Services Committee, he said temporarily.

In a statement, he said, "I look forward to resuming my work on the committee once a jury of my peers has weighed the evidence and I am fully exonerated."

If convicted, federal prosecutors say Grimm faces between five and 10 years on the fraud charges and up to 20 years on the highest charge.

The U.S. attorney said her investigation of Grimm is ongoing.

Web Extra: Federal officials discuss charges


TWC News: Rep. Grimm Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Fraud Charges
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.


Web Extra: Grimm responds to federal charges


TWC News: Rep. Grimm Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Fraud Charges
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Related Stories

10.11.12.248 ClientIP: 184.73.104.82, 23.62.6.93 UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/) Profile: TWCSAMLSP