Muslim Democrat, Who Says Christian Prayer is Offensive, Arrested for Charity Fraud
Pennsylvania state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell charged with stealing from children's funds
A Muslim Democrat Pennsylvania state lawmaker, who claims Christian prayer is offensive, has been charged for allegedly stealing half a million dollars from a children's charity.
Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (D-PA) was reportedly arrested this week on a number of charges.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement Johnson-Harrell has been charged with theft, perjury, and tampering.
Johnson-Harrell is accused of stealing money from the charity she founded, which was meant to help children and the homeless, and spending the money on luxury travel and sports cars.
Johnson-Harrell previously made headlines after saying she was offended by a Christian prayer offered before a session of the Pennsylvania Legislature in March.
The newly sworn-in Democratic state representative described the prayer as "bigotry" and an "attack."
Shapiro said that she had stolen money from Motivations Education & Consultation Associates, or MECA, a charity meant to collect donations to help the homeless, seniors and children.
He alleged that she spent the money on "vacations, designer clothing, luxury car payments, real estate purchases, past-due mortgage payments, and other personal expenses."
Shapiro said in the statement that she had turned herself in, had confessed to the crimes, and had agreed to leave the Pennsylvania Legislature.
Johnson-Harrell diverted Medicaid and Social Security disability funds from her charity for her own personal use, Shapiro said.
"Her theft knew no bounds," he said.
Later, in a statement released through her lawyers to the Associated Press, she said she disputed some of the charges.
"I am saddened and dismayed by the nature of the allegations brought against me today," Johnson-Harrell said.
"I vigorously dispute many of these allegations, which generally pertain to before I took office and I intend to accept responsibility for any actions that were inappropriate," she added.
Johnson-Harrell had founded MECA in 2006.
MECA was meant to help those living with chronic mental illness, intellectual disabilities and substance abuse disorders.
“When corruption erodes the trust that is built between governmental entities and citizens, no one wins,” Shapiro concluded in his statement.
“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.”
She had been the first Muslim representative elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature.