Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm indicted on tax fraud charges

michael grimm fbi
Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm was taken into FBI custody Monday morning.
Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm pleaded not guilty on Monday to federal charges that he defrauded the government of taxes on his former health food restaurant.

Prosecutors allege Grimm underreported over $1 million of wages and sales at the Upper East Side restaurant, called Healthalicious. Authorities said some workers at the restaurant, which Grimm ran from 2007 to 2010, were undocumented.

The Republican congressman dismissed the charges as part of a “political witch hunt” designed to “assassinate” his character.  He said he has no plans to resign because of the charges.

“We’re going to fight tooth and nail until I am fully exonerated,” Grimm said shortly after leaving Brooklyn federal court.

Grimm, who represents parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn, was arrested after surrendering to the FBI shortly before 7 a.m. Monday. After he pleaded not guilty, Grimm was released on $400,000 bond and ordered to surrender his passport and firearm.

He was charged with mail, wire and health care fraud, filing false tax returns, perjury, obstruction of an official proceeding and hiring and employing unauthorized aliens in connection with Healthalicious, according to the 20-count indictment unsealed Monday.

“Michael Grimm never met a tax he didn’t lie to evade,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said.

Prosecutors allege Grimm hired and paid undocumented Healthalicious employees with cash, falsifying payroll records that underreported gross receipts of the business by $1 million. He was charged with cheating sales, income and payroll taxes while he ran the food shop.

According to the indictment, Grimm also underpaid workers’ compensation premiums and lied under oath during a civil suit brought by former employees alleging wage violations.

FBI assistant director-in-charge George Venizelos said Grimm, a former federal agent himself, should have known better.

“As a former FBI agent, Representative Grimm should understand the motto: fidelity, bravery and integrity. Yet he broke our credo at nearly every turn. In this 20-count indictment, Representative Grimm honored a new motto: fraud, perjury and obstruction,” Venizekos said.

The congressman faces 20 years in prison for each mail and wire fraud charge. He is expected in court again next month.

Grimm recently made headlines for threatening to throw a NY1 reporter off of a balcony after the State of the Union address. The congressman apologized to the reporter, who was threatened after asking about an investigation into Grimm’s campaign finances.

None of  the charges unsealed Monday were related to campaign finance, but Lynch said an investigation is ongoing. Authorities had been probing Grimm’s fundraising for the past two years.

Grimm is currently seeking reelection. He was charged shortly after the deadline for Republicans to put a different candidate up for his seat, but Lynch denied the indictment was politically motivated.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.