Pamela Harris pleads guilty to federal fraud charges

Posted: Updated:
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN -

Former state Assemblywoman Pamela Harris pleaded guilty in federal court to fraud charges for using Superstorm Sandy relief funds to renovate her Coney Island home -- which was not damaged in the storm.

Harris had pleaded not guilty after her initial arrest in January. Then she resigned from office in April.

Tuesday, she admitted to multiple charges.

The charges include wire fraud, making false statements to FEMA and witness tampering. She faces up to 30 years in prison at her Sept. 26 sentencing.

According to prosecutors, Harris took grant money allocated for underprivileged children and money set aside for people who Sandy had displaced. They say that between 2012 and 2014, she claimed the storm had forced her out of her home and into a temporary residence on Staten Island. She went as far as submitting fake lease agreements and rent receipts.

All the while, prosecutors say, she was living in her Coney Island home and pocketing the money.

Then, as head of a nonprofit, she used $22,800 intended for a studio space and instead spent it on personal expenses.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."