FBI Arrests N.Y. Congressman for Health Food Restaurant Fraud

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 28 2014 6:43 PM

FBI Arrests N.Y. Congressman Michael Grimm for Fraud at His Health Food Restaurant

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U.S. Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY, 11th District) speaks at a press conference after leaving Brooklyn Federal Court.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

New York lawmaker Michael Grimm found himself on the wrong side of the law on Monday. The FBI arrested the Republican Congressman representing New York City’s Staten Island on fraud and perjury charges. The 20-count federal indictment, Politico reports, includes “allegations that he skimmed more than $1 million from a restaurant he owned before he came to Congress.”

The investigation of Grimm’s restaurateur days began with a health food restaurant, called Healthalicious, he invested in 2006. The indictment "lays out a long list of criminal charges against Grimm, including mail and wire fraud, filing false tax returns, health care fraud, hiring undocumented workers, perjury and obstruction,” according to Politico. Grimm denied the charges saying he was the victim of a “political witch hunt” and would not resign his seat in Congress. At a press conference after being released on bail, Grimm declared: “I know who I am, and I know what I’ve done for this country… I know I’m a moral man, a man of integrity.”

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Before being elected to Congress, Grimm served as a Marine and then as an FBI agent from 1991 to 2006. After the arrest, FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos had this to say about his former colleague: “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 twenty-count indictment, Representative Grimm lived by a new motto: fraud, perjury, and obstruction."

This is not Grimm’s first brush with the law. Elected as a tea party candidate in 2010, ABC News reports “for the past two years, federal prosecutors have been examining Grimm's fund-raising for his 2010 race. Two of his fund-raisers have already been charged.”

Oh, and there's also that time Grimm threatened a NY1 reporter, in the capitol building, saying: "I'll Break you in half. Like a boy." On camera.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.