Pennsylvania Democrat charged with stealing more than $500,000 from mental illness charity

As reported by WashingtonExaminer

A Pennsylvania state representative is accused of taking money from her own nonprofit and spending it on luxury expenses.

Democratic Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, who founded Motivations Education & Consultation Associates, allegedly diverted Medicaid and Social Security disability funds from the nonprofit and spent them on designer clothing, vacations, luxury car payments, real estate purchases, and other personal expenses, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced in a press release on Wednesday.

The nonprofit was created by Johnson-Harrell, who was the first Muslim woman to serve in the House, in order to help people suffering from intellectual disabilities, chronic mental illness, and substance abuse issues. It also benefited the homeless, children, and elderly people.

“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.”

Some of the spending allegedly included $20,000 in overdue mortgage payments, $2,000 on overdue payments for a Porsche, and $15,000 on clothing items like fox fur coats and garments from designer Ralph Lauren.

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The charges include theft, perjury, tampering with public records, tax fraud, and campaign fraud.

After turning herself in to police on Wednesday, Johnson-Harrell said she would be resigning from the House this month.

“I am saddened and dismayed by the nature of the allegations brought against me today,” she told the Associated Press. “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.”