Representative Grimm to plead guilty in tax fraud case: source

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 22, 2014 3:31 PM

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Michael Grimm of New York is expected to plead guilty on Tuesday to resolve federal tax fraud and other charges, a source familiar with the case said.

Grimm, a Republican, easily won a third term in November despite his indictment in April on charges of fraud, perjury and conspiracy stemming from a Manhattan health food restaurant he formerly co-owned, Healthalicious.

Court records showed a plea hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn federal court. His trial had been scheduled for Feb. 2.

Grimm's lawyer declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch declined to comment.

It is not clear whether Grimm would seek to maintain his seat in Congress, though he could face discipline from the House of Representatives, including expulsion.

The 20-count indictment accused Grimm of hiring illegal immigrants at the restaurant, paying staffers under the table and under-reporting how much he had spent in wages by keeping two sets of payroll ledgers.

He was also charged with lying under oath about his practices during a deposition in a federal lawsuit brought by former Healthalicious employees who claimed they were not paid minimum wage.

The indictment followed a probe of Grimm's fundraising. In September, former Grimm fundraiser Diana Durand pleaded guilty to funneling illegal contributions to his 2010 campaign.

Grimm, a former FBI agent, represents parts of the city's boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn. He previously stirred controversy in January when he was caught on camera threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony and break him "in half, like a boy."

He defeated Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia Jr. on Nov. 4 in New York's 11th Congressional District, pulling in 53 percent of the vote compared with 41 percent for Recchia.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Writing by Joseph Ax; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Andrew Hay)