Former Assemblymember Pamela Harris – who was indicted earlier this year on a variety of fraud and corruption charges – is expected to plead guilty today in Brooklyn Federal Court.
The Daily News reports that Harris, 57 – who stepped down in April after being charged in January 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 – will cop to charges arising out of a variety of self-enrichment schemes that arose in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
According to the indictment, Harris defrauded various government entities of tens of thousands of dollars, beginning in 2012, prior to her election, by claiming her Coney Island home was made uninhabitable by the storm. The indictment further claims that she also enriched herself by diverting funding allocated to the not-for-profit organization that she ran as executive director to her own, personal use.
Among the agencies that Harris was charged with defrauding are the New York City Council, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the New York City Build it Back Program, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Harris replaced former Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, winning a 2015 special election that was held after Brook-Krasny stepped down to take a job in the private sector.
Harris ran on the Democratic line, as did Brook-Krasny. The latter was indicted after stepping down in connection with a sting operation targeting three Brooklyn medical clinics that investigators allege were “pill mills” which illegally prescribed opioid painkillers while also fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for millions of dollars’ worth of unnecessary medical tests, physical therapy and psychiatric services.
Had she gone to trial and been convicted, Harris could have faced up to 30 years imprisonment on the charge of making false statements to FEMA. The wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, witness tampering and obstruction of justice conspiracy charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years. The bankruptcy fraud and other false statements charges each carry up to five years in prison.
The 46th A.D. – which Harris represented – includes portions of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Brighton Beach, Sea Gate and Coney Island.