News / USA

New York Congressman Indicted on Fraud Charges

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, right, speaks to the media outside of federal court in New York, April 28, 2014.
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, right, speaks to the media outside of federal court in New York, April 28, 2014.
Reuters
— Republican congressman Michael Grimm from New York was indicted on fraud charges in connection with a Manhattan fast-food restaurant he partly owned, according to court documents unsealed on Monday. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The charges follow a federal probe of Grimm's fundraising that has been going on for more than two years and Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch told reporters a "larger investigation" was ongoing.

Grimm is a former Marine who subsequently worked as an FBI agent. He was elected in 2010 with a wave of conservative "Tea Party" Republicans advocating low taxes and government spending but built a moderate voting record.

In January, he generated headlines when he threatened to throw a television reporter off a balcony after an interview in the U.S. Capitol on the night of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. The incident was caught on camera.

Speaking to reporters after a court hearing on Monday, Grimm vowed to return to work and "fight tooth and nail until I'm exonerated."

Prosecutors said Grimm and the health food restaurant, Healthalicious, under-reported wages paid to workers, many of whom did not have legal status in the United States. They said many of the wages were paid in cash.

Grimm and the restaurant also concealed from federal and New York state authorities more than $1 million in gross receipts, prosecutors said.

The 20-count indictment says Grimm oversaw the restaurant's day-to-day operations between 2007 and 2010, just after he left the FBI. He subsequently sold his stake in the restaurant. The indictment also charges Grimm with lying under oath in January 2013 about his role in the restaurant.

Grimm, who represents a district that covers Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, is free on a $400,000 bond.

He appeared briefly in federal court on Monday dressed in a dark gray suit and striped blue tie. He stood with his hands folded in front of him as he responded to a judge's questions.

"As a former FBI agent, Representative Grimm should understand the motto: fidelity, bravery, and integrity. Yet he broke our credo at nearly every turn," said George Venizelos, who runs the FBI's New York office.

"Representative Grimm lived by a new motto: fraud, perjury, and obstruction," Venizelos said.

One of Grimm's fundraisers, Diana Durand, was arrested in January on charges that she illegally funneled more than $10,000 to his campaign. On Friday, a grand jury indicted Durand on charges that she made campaign contributions that exceeded federal caps in 2010.

It was the third scandal to hit House Republicans in recent months.

In April, married Congressman Van McAllister of Louisiana was caught on camera passionately kissing a married staffer in his office, prompting calls for him to resign, which he has rejected. In January, Trey Radel of Florida resigned after pleading guilty to buying cocaine.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which tracks congressional races, changed its rating on Monday of Grimm's reelection race against former New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia from "lean Republican" to "lean Democrat."

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid