A state assemblywoman who represents parts of Brooklyn is facing multiple charges after she was indicted Tuesday on federal fraud charges.
According to the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Pamela Harris has been charged with 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.
Before Harris was elected to the state assembly in 2015, she ran a non-profit group for children. In one alleged scheme, she is accused of stealing $34,000 in city funding meant for the group, by creating phony lease agreements to make it look like the money was going to rent. Instead, she allegedly used the cash to shop at Victoria's Secret and buy plane and cruise tickets totaling nearly $10,000 for her and her husband.
Harris, a Democrat whose district includes Coney Island and Bay Ridge, is also accused of defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of nearly $25,000 by falsifying documents to steal money and services from FEMA and the city's Build It Back program — money meant for Hurricane Sandy relief.
If convicted of all charges, she faces more than 50 years in prison.
She pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon and was released on a $150,000 bond that was signed by a friend. Harris said nothing as she left Brooklyn Federal Court with her lawyers.
Corruption has long been an issue in Albany. In an October 19, 2015 debate on NY1, Harris was asked how she would change the culture of corruption in the state capital:
"If you do the job right, you don't have time to get into trouble, and that's what my philosophy is: To do the job right," she said.
Harris is due back in court Jan. 16.