A Former Lawmaker's Descent into Fraud and Deceit
Joseph Harding, the former Florida Republican lawmaker who sponsored the controversial "Don't Say Gay" law, has pleaded guilty to committing $150,000 in COVID-19 relief fraud. He faces up to 35 years in prison at a hearing scheduled for July 25.
Harding made false statements to the Small Business Administration while applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan for one of his dormant business entities. After obtaining $150,000 in COVID-19 relief funds, he conducted three monetary transactions involving fraudulently obtained funds, including a transfer to his joint bank account, a payment to his credit card, and a transfer to a third-party business entity.
Harding resigned from the Florida House in December, a day after his indictment was announced by federal prosecutors. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program was designed to provide economic relief to small businesses that were experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.
Harding's case is not only a violation of the trust placed in him as a former public official, but also a betrayal of the small businesses that were counting on the COVID-19 relief funds to keep their doors open during the pandemic. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program was created to provide a lifeline to small businesses during a time of crisis, but instead, it was abused by individuals like Harding, who saw it as an opportunity to line their pockets with taxpayer money.
The case of Joseph Harding is a cautionary tale of the consequences of fraudulent activities and the importance of upholding the trust placed in public officials. The former lawmaker's downfall serves as a reminder that no one is above the law and that those who abuse the system will be held accountable for their actions. The story of Joseph Harding is a testament to the resilience of the American people and the strength of our justice system in holding those who break the law accountable
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