The Republican state lawmaker who introduced “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida will face trial early next year on fraud charges.
A federal grand jury indicted Rep. Joe Harding on six counts of money laundering and wire fraud charges Wednesday, prosecutors said. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, the indictment alleges Harding, “knowingly” devised a scheme to claim COVID-related loans by claiming two of his businesses were active between between December 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021.
The federal indictment alleges Harding committed two acts of wire fraud by
participating in a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) and for obtaining coronavirus-related small business loans by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses.”
Prosecutors said that that Harding faked loan applications and made “false representations” when it came to documentation, including faking bank statements.
Harding fraudulently obtained and attempted to obtain more than $150,00 in funds from the SBA to which he was not entitled.”
The trial is scheduled for Jan. 11.
Harding faces a maximum term of 20 years over the wire fraud charges, 10 years for money laundering, and 5 years for making false statements.
The Florida state lawmaker who sponsored the "Don't Say Gay" bill has been indicted.— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) December 7, 2022
Florida State Rep. Joe Harding (R) has been charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements, according to the US Attorney's Office. pic.twitter.com/LPJBJRwW0P
(Photo, Facebook; via The Daily Beast)