New York state lawmaker Pamela Harris (D-Brooklyn), has been charged with pocketing tens of thousands of dollars that was intended to be used for the Hurricane Sandy recovery.
What did she do with that money? Well, she did an awful lot of shopping at Victoria's Secret.
The 57-year-old lawmaker, first elected in 2015, is accused of fraudulently accepting $25,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and failing to disclose it during her recent bankruptcy proceedings.
She also is accused of keeping $23,000 in New York City money meant for Coney Island Generation Gap, a nonprofit she once led, and directing two people to lie to FBI investigators when they were interviewed in her case.
She spent the money on household expenses, her mortgage, at stores like Victoria's Secret and on airfare and cruise tickets, prosecutors said. (USA Today)
Federal prosecutors also charged her with lying about a need for "temporary housing assistance,” claiming that the storm forced her out of her Brooklyn home and convincing FEMA to give her $25,000 to cover the costs of moving.
Sandy devastated New York City in December 2012. Over 100 people died from the storm, 44 of whom died in New York. Most of the deaths occurred from drowning.
The storm's aftermath left flooding, explosions, fires, millions without power. I drove through Long Island a week or two after the hurricane hit and was shocked to see debris piled high on every street. It looked like a war zone.
The financial cost of the hurricane amounted to $65 billion. After weeks of fighting, Congress finally approved a $50.5 billion Sandy relief package in January 2013. Critics claimed too much of the bill had to do with spending unrelated to storm recovery.