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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New York (AFP) – U.S. congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) was taken into custody Monday and charged with fraud and obstruction of justice, accused by federal prosecutors of making $1 million “disappear” from the books of a business he owned.

The former FBI agent and a second-term Republican from Staten Island was arraigned in federal court where he pleaded not guilty to an array of charges linked to his conduct while the owner of a health food restaurant before he became a member of the House of Representatives.

A federal indictment charged Grimm with 20 counts, including five counts each of mail fraud and wire fraud, three counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of perjury and one of obstructing official proceedings.

“Michael Grimm made the choice to go from upholding the law to breaking it. In so doing he turned his back on every oath he had ever taken,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch, said in announcing the charges.

Lynch pulled no punches, outlining how Grimm hired undocumented workers and paid them cash, off the books, in a scheme to fraudulently under-report earnings at Healthalicious, the Manhattan restaurant he co-owned from 2007 through 2010.

The scheme, Lynch said, allowed Grimm to make “over $1 million simply disappear.”

The indictment stated: “In an attempt to conceal his schemes, in January 2013, while a member of Congress, Grimm lied under oath during a civil deposition about his role in operating the restaurant, including falsely denying that he had paid Healthalicious’s workers in cash.”

If convicted, Grimm could get up to 20 years for each of the mail and wire fraud charges, in addition to jail time for the others.

The 44-year-old also has been under investigation for two years for alleged campaign finance violations, but the 20 counts did not appear to be directly related to that FBI probe.

Grimm got into hot water earlier this year after being caught on camera threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony in the U.S. Capitol building after the journalist asked Grimm about the campaign finance probe.

Last week, Grimm’s lawyer William McGinley said his client asserts his innocence, and that U.S. authorities were conducting a “politically-driven vendetta” against him.

Grimm and the rest of the 435-seat House face re-election in November.

The non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington called for Grimm’s immediate resignation.

Photo: House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans via Flickr

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  • Megumi Yuuki

    Good Riddance. I hope you rot in Jail you violent Hateful Bigot!

    • STMBT

      This is the asshole that threatened to throw the reporter from the 2nd floor. hopefully he will go to prison and get’ put in a cell with some big mean SOB that is just HORNEY AS HELL!!!

  • James Bowen

    Among these charges are that he knowingly hired illegal aliens.

    • stcroixcarp

      Who would want immigration reform when you can use illegals to your advantage?

      • James Bowen

        Big business are the ones who want amnesty because it would also be an amnesty for their own illegal actions and permanently lock in a supply of cheap labor.

        • Allan Richardson

          Incorrect. Big businesses want amnesty for THEMSELVES (and effectively, they already have it), but not for their workers. That labor will not be quite as cheap if the workers do not have to worry about being deported for reporting abuse by their employers.

          Just as drug cartels want drugs to be illegal, so as to drive up the demand and the price, as long as THEY don’t get caught selling them, and just as bootleggers in the 1920s wanted to keep Prohibition as long as THEY didn’t get caught, big corporations want to hire illegal aliens BECAUSE they are illegal, as long as THEY do not suffer any worse punishment than a small fine and the cost of replacement.

          • James Bowen

            No, they do want it for their workers too. As long as those workers are illegal, there exists the possibility that the government will actually do what they are supposed to do and enforce the laws as written. With that, they would lose their supply of cheap labor. Amnesty, especially if combined with an increase in legal immigration and expansion of guest worker programs, would ensure a permanent supply of cheap labor. Any leverage gained by the illegal employees through legalization would be far outweighed by how dirt cheap the market cost of labor would be. Legal status and the ability to join a union would not mean anything if there is a large glut in the labor market. Big business knows this, and they are the ones who are bankrolling the push for more immigration and amnesty because of it.

          • ralphkr

            Hey, Allen, if big businesses do NOT want amnesty for illegal immigrants then kindly explain whey the US Chamber of Commerce, the mouthpiece of big business, is pushing so hard for amnesty to be passed?

  • Pamby50

    He said he is not resigning his seat in US House till the trial is over. He is locked in as the republican in the race.

    • Allan Richardson

      Hopefully, one down and 16 to go!

  • Kato

    Way to go

    U.S. Congressman Michael Grimm