NEW YORK — U.S. Rep Michael Grimm was arrested this morning to face a 20-count federal indictment that includes charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud.
The Staten Island Republican was awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn. He is charged with engaging in schemes to underreport wages for restaurant workers. He is accused of concealing more than $1 million in sales and wages.
Authorities said that when he was deposed by an attorney representing former employees in a lawsuit, Grimm lied under oath about his allegedly fraudulent business practices.
Authorities allege the fraud occurred from 2007 to 2010. Grimm, a former FBI agent, was elected in 2010 and took office in 2011.
“Rep. Grimm billed himself as a patriot and an American hero,” said George Venizelos, head of the FBI’s New York office. “ ... But Rep. Grimm was anything but an upstanding citizen. He cheated, evaded and then lied.”
For two years, investigators had been examining his fundraising in the 2010 race and his involvement in the Manhattan restaurant. A House Ethics Committee announced in November that Grimm was under investigation for possible campaign finance violations.
Grimm’s attorney, William McGinley, said in a statement Friday: “Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing.”
After the House Ethics Committee announced last fall that Grimm was under investigation, the panel said it would defer its inquiry because of a separate Department of Justice investigation.
During the 2010 race, Grimm, 44, acknowledged receiving $250,000 to $300,000 in contributions from followers of an Israeli rabbi, Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto. Some members of Pinto’s congregation subsequently said they made tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions.
Grimm has denied knowledge of any improprieties.