Don’t Say Pay! You have to give it to homophobes – they’re gold medal winners in the problematic people stakes. The Department of Justice has charged Republican Joe Harding with six counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements. Harding authored Florida’s notorious Don’t Say Gay law.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) allege Joe Harding attempted to obtain over $150,000 in federal pandemic relief funds fraudulently.
He allegedly defrauded the Small Business Association by obtaining COVID-related small business loans. The DOJ alleges he obtained the loans by “means of materially false and fraudulent pretences, representations, and promises, and for the purpose of executing such scheme, caused wire communications to be transmitted in interstate commerce.”
Harding allegedly applied for disaster relief loans using the names of dormant business entities. The DOJ further claims the state representative created fraudulent bank statements. He also engaged in monetary transactions with funds derived from unlawful activity.
Penalties for the alleged crimes could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Joe Harding statement
Harding issued a statement saying he pled not guilty. He added in a sub sequent statement that he had resigned from the Florida House of Representatives.
“Regarding the current legal matter, I cannot comment on the details of my case. There will be a time when I can tell my story in detail, and I will. For now, let me reassure my constituents and the taxpayers that I repaid every penny of the loan I obtained, and I have done my best to cooperate fully with all authorities. That is all I will say for now, and I will communicate any additional details of my legal matter through my attorney.”
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