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.
The 11-count federal indictment filed against her this morning in Brooklyn describes a long-running scheme that predates her time in office.
Harris represents Bay Ridge, Beach Haven, Brightwater Towers, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Dyker Heights and nearby neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
"Both before and during her tenure as a public servant, as alleged, Assemblywoman Pamela Harris went to great lengths to defraud local and federal agencies out of thousands of dollars", FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said in a statement.
Harris, 57, was 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, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of NY.
Harris, elected to the assembly in a November 2015 special election, was also charged with trying to illegally collect funds from the city's Build It Back program for Sandy victims.
If convicted, she faces 30 years in prison on one of the FEMA charges, 20 years on each wire fraud, conspiracy, witness tampering or obstruction of justice charges and five years on each bankruptcy fraud and false statement charges.
Harris actually stayed in the undamaged house while allegedly filing phony rent payment receipts and a bogus lease agreement for a Staten Island residence.
"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.
She is also accused of keeping $23,000 in New York City funds that were meant for Coney Island Generation Gap, a non-profit she once led, and directing two people to lie to FBI investigators when they were interviewed in her case.
Just a day before she told FEMA about her Staten Island rental, the indictment says Harris made a different claim to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Prosecutors say the city awarded CIGG more than $42,000 in discretionary funds for fiscal year 2015 based in part on fraudulent documentation supplied by Harris. Harris allegedly used the money for vacations, cruise tickets and even her lingerie bill at Victoria's Secret.
While head of a Brooklyn nonprofit between August 2015 and July 2015, Harris allegedly used $23,000 meant to rent a studio for personal use in her checking account, according to the indictment unsealed Tuesday.
Harris' predecessor in the Brooklyn district she was representing, Alec Brook-Krasny, was indicted past year in connection with producing opioids.