She may represent Philadelphia, PA, the “City of Brotherly Love,” but Democrat State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (PA) just proved the last thing she cares about is the most vulnerable in her district. Stealing from the mentally ill living in personal care homes, so she could buy expensive designer clothes, donate to political campaigns or take family vacations is certainly not what comes to mind when you think of a woman elected to represent the city of “brotherly love.”
Political Insider Reports – Pennsylvania State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (D), the first Islamic woman elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was charged by prosecutors this week for allegedly stealing over $500,000 from a non-profit organization that works with the mentally ill.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges on Wednesday, which were the result of an investigation into her involvement with the non-profit group, Motivations Education & Consultation Associates (MECA).
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer – One day after being charged with taking more than $500,000 from her own nonprofit, Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell submitted her resignation on Thursday, saying she would leave the Pennsylvania legislature next Friday.
“While I dispute many of the allegations lodged against me, I accept responsibility for some missteps made before I became an elected official,” Johnson-Harrell wrote in a letter to Speaker Mike Turzai. “I am choosing to resign to protect my district, to allow for an orderly election for my successor, and to focus on my defense to these allegations.”
The West Philadelphia Democrat was charged Wednesday with theft, perjury, tampering with public records, and related crimes.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said a guilty plea would “be worked out” and Johnson-Harrell faces jail time. She said in a statement after being charged that she would “accept responsibility for any actions that were inappropriate” but that she vigorously disputed many of the charges.
Johnson-Harrell, 53, is accused of moving money from her nonprofit, Motivations Education & Consultation Associates (MECA), into her personal account, about $39,500 of which she donated at different times to her campaign committee, Friends of Movita.
MECA is described as a non-profit that provides education, training and support to the chronically mentally ill living in personal care homes. Movita Johnson is listed as the director of the non-profit.
Prosecutors said she spent tens of thousands of dollars on personal bills, online shopping, designer clothing, family vacations, political donations, and more.
She is the second consecutive representative of the 190th District in West Philadelphia to leave the seat after being charged with crimes. Johnson-Harrell was elected in a March special election to replace Vanessa Lowery Brown, who was convicted of bribery and other charges and resigned last December.