GOP lawmaker behind Fla.’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ invoice indicted on COVID aid fraud prices

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The Republican Florida lawmaker behind the state’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” invoice was indicted on fraud prices Tuesday for allegedly collaborating in a scheme to defraud the federal authorities of COVID-19 aid funds. 

State Rep. Joe Harding is coping with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of collaborating in monetary transactions with funds derived from unlawful train, and two counts of establishing false statements to the Small Business Administration related to the scheme, in keeping with the federal grand jury indictment in opposition to him. 

Prosecutors accuse Harding of using dormant companies to make use of for better than $150,000 in pandemic-related aid loans from the Small Business Administration between Dec. 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021  and using fake monetary establishment statements as supporting documentation on his mortgage capabilities. 

The 35-year-old state advisor from Ocala was elected to the Florida House in 2020 and sponsored legal guidelines banning discussions related to gender id and sexual orientation in public schools up until the third grade.

JOE HARDING
State Rep. Joe Harding was indicted on fraud prices for allegedly collaborating in a scheme to defraud the federal authorities of COVID-19 aid funds.
AP/Phelan M. Ebenhac

The legal guidelines, derided as a result of the “Don’t Say Gay” invoice by liberals, sparked protests and was opposed by Disney, Central Florida’s largest employer. The invoice was signed into regulation by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in March of 2022.

Harding, who’s free on bond, could be tried at a federal courthouse in Gainesville, Florida, sooner than District Judge Allen Winsor in a trial scheduled to begin early subsequent yr. 

The prices in opposition to Harding carry a most penalty of 70 years in jail. 


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