PA Representative Charged With Theft, Perjury, Tampering
A Pennsylvania Representative from Philadelphia is facing several charges following an investigation from the state's Attorney General's office.
Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, a Democrat representing part of Philadelphia County, has been charged with theft, perjury, and tampering, among other charges. Attorney General Josh Shapiro says Johnson-Harrell spent more than half a million dollars of charity money on personal expenses. The charity, Motivations Education & Consultation Associates, or MECA, was started by Johnson-Harrell. The non-profit organization's goal was to help those who suffered with chronic mental illness, intellectual disabilities, substance abuse disorders, the homeless, seniors, and children.
Johnson-Harrell is accused of spending more than $500,000 dollars on a variety of things, including: $5,500 on fox fur coats, $16,000 on multiple vacations, more than $2,000 on Porsche payments, almost $7,000 on designer clothing, $3,000 on an overdue IRS tax bill, almost $4,000 in tuition for a relative, $3,200 to Philadelphia Gas Works, more than $4,700 in City of Philadelphia taxes, and almost $8,000 in restitution for a 2014 criminal conviction. Attorney General Shapiro says this money was meant to be used to pay for leases on homes for people with serious medical issues. Instead, the homes closed due to inhabitable conditions.
Johnson-Harrell's charges include theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, perjury, tampering with public records, and reporting by candidate and political committees.
“When corruption erodes the trust that is built between governmental entities and citizens, no one wins,” Shapiro said. “I’ve said time and time again as Attorney General that no one is above the law, no matter their position of power. And today is no different,” Attorney General Shapiro says.
Attorney General Shapiro says Johnson-Harrell turned herself in Wednesday morning, and plans to plead guilty. Johnson-Harrell has agreed to resign from her seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on December 13th.