Case Update: Movita Johnson-Harrell Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Public Corruption Crimes

January 23, 2020 | Topic: Criminal

PHILADELPHIA – The 60th public official to be charged with corruption by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro today pleaded guilty, was sentenced to jail, and ordered to repay the money she stole from her non-profit, an organization designed to help the homeless, seniors, children, and people with chronic mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and substance abuse disorders.

Former state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell will serve three months in Philadelphia County Prison, eight-and-a-half months of house arrest, eleven-and-a-half months on parole, and then two years of probation. She will also surrender a property to be sold; the proceeds of which will be used to pay restitution to her non-profit, Motivations Education & Consultation Associates, or MECA.

Johnson-Harrell personally spent her non-profit MECA money on vacations, designer clothing, luxury car payments, real estate purchases, past-due mortgage payments, and other personal expenses.

“This Philadelphia community would have been in a better place had this former public official invested MECA’s money into the people who needed the care she promised,” Attorney General Shapiro said following Johnson-Harrell’s sentencing today in Courtroom 905 of the Philadelphia Courthouse. “Instead, the community received no help as Johnson-Harrell spent MECA money on fur coats, Porsche car payments and expensive vacations for herself.

“Corruption erodes the trust that is built between government entities and citizens. Philadelphia is entitled to honest services and, hopefully, the good people here will begin to receive them now that justice has been served.

“The struggles Johnson-Harrell has faced in life are not lost on me today but we had to remain steadfast in serving justice for the vulnerable communities she promised to serve through MECA and never delivered. ”

Johnson-Harrell pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges (reporting by political candidates and committees, statement of financial interests) filed against her by the Office, and pleaded guilty to felony charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, perjury, and misdemeanor charges of tampering with public records.

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