Democrat Rep. charged with stealing more than $500,000 from her own charity

A Democrat State Representative from West Philadelphia is now charged with stealing more than $500,000. She faces charges of perjury, tampering with public records, theft, and a number of related crimes. Her name is Movita Johnson-Harrell and she allegedly used her own nonprofit, Motivations Education & Consultation Associates (MECA), to fund herself, paying for things like fancy clothes, real estate, vacations, her bid for office, according to a vast report on The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Johnson-Harrell used her nonprofit to enrich herself, stealing more than $500,000 from the organization to spend on real estate, vacations, luxury clothing — and her bid for the legislature, State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a morning news conference in Harrisburg.

Shapiro said Johnson-Harrell had agreed to resign from the legislature and plead guilty to charges, and said she faces jail time.

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“There will be a guilty plea that will be worked out, and you will see the details of that soon," Shapiro said.

The suspect, Johnson-Harrell, turned herself in with the police this week, on Wednesday and plans to resign from her non-profit.

However, she also claimed that some of the charges against her were merely allegations. She made a statement through her lawyer.

I am saddened and dismayed by the nature of the allegations brought against me today. 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.

So what did she do with the money?

Well, apparently she was paying her bills, taking the money to replenish her bank account, and simply spending the money on whatever she wanted. She apparently made MECA to help people who were homeless or with mental illness and addiction, but seems like she was doing it to pay her own way for several years according to AG Josh Shapiro

“MECA’s actual mission was to serve as a cash account for Johnson-Harrell’s own personal use,” he said.

Among the funds used was $12,500 Johnson-Harrell allegedly transferred from MECA to the Friends of Movita campaign committee during her run for legislature earlier this year and told the campaign to record as a $15,000 personal loan she was making to the committee.

Then, toward the end of the campaign, as it was running out of money, Johnson deposited a $30,000 bank check she’d taken out after transferring MECA funds to her own account into the Friends of Movita account, withdrew half in cash, and left the rest for the campaign as an unreported loan, according to the affidavit of probable cause for her arrest.

With MECA funds, Johnson-Harrell spent $16,000 on vacations in 2017, including a two-week vacation with a relative to a resort in Acapulco in April and a second trip to Mexico in November. She also dropped $5,500 on four fox fur coats weeks after she filed for bankruptcy in 2018, according to prosecutors.

But wait, there's more!

She's accused of spending $13k on online shopping.

She ran homes for people who needed help, but the homes were falling apart and people were living in nasty conditions, despite the homes being funded by disability and Medicaid part of the way. Even worse, she would fill her own bank account with funds from MECA, based on the report by Philly Inquirer.

How did the Democrat get caught?

One of the homes she ran had to be shut down last year. However, as greedy as she is, she kept taking rent payments from the non-profit, despite the home no longer being open. She was likely paying herself or using the money for her own.

“When her personal checking account was low, she simply refilled it with money from MECA’s account,” Shapiro said.

In 2017, Johnson-Harrell used some of the charity’s money to twice donate to Larry Krasner’s campaign for district attorney, giving $2,500 in total and making each donation immediately after transferring money from MECA to her personal account. She would become a supervisor in the Victim/Witness Services Unit of Krasner’s District Attorney’s Office the following year.

She also used the money to pay the City of Philadelphia with checks labeled “taxes,” as well as overdue gas bills, back taxes to the IRS, an overdue water bill, tuition for her grandchildren’s private school, and past-due car payments. She paid $7,979 in restitution for a 2014 criminal conviction for not paying unemployment compensation taxes.

At some point last year, Johnson-Harrell filed for bankruptcy that had something to do with foreclosing on several of her properties. The prosecutors had some issues, saying she had "obscured and misrepresented her money and assets, claiming she earned tens of thousands of dollars less than she did."

There's even more to the story but you probably don't want to be bored with it. She's just another example of a rogue Democrat getting caught in a crime and then acting like she didn't do anything.

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