A Republican congressman who once threatened to throw a TV reporter off a balcony is now facing a 20-count indictment for perjury and tax evasion, including concealing more than $1 million in revenue. He pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud on Monday.
The case involves New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, a former Marine and FBI agent. In April, Grimm was accused of concealing more than $1 million in revenue and failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee pay at his restaurant 'Healthalicious.'
Grimm’s agreement to
plead guilty to one count required him to say in court how he had broken the law. He told a federal judge that he had underreported the gross receipts of his restaurant and had used them to pay some expenses and to pay employees “off the books.”
“Although it was a little restaurant, I made some big mistakes,” Grimm told reporters outside the Brooklyn federal courthouse. “Mistakes that I immensely, immensely regret, and that I am truly sorry for, but that I also accept full responsibility for all of those mistakes in every way. And as difficult as it is and it’s difficult to admit when you’re wrong, I was. I underreported the gross sales receipts of the restaurant to pay business expenses, including payroll for employees who were off the books. It’s true.”
Despite the allegations, Grimm just won his re-election bid in November, representing State Island and southern Brooklyn in the House of Representatives. He said he would not resign his seat.
“As I said before, as long as I’m able to serve, I’m going to serve. As of right now I’m still in a capacity to serve,” Grimm told the New York Observer.
The congressman will go to trial in February, facing the 20-count indictment for paying workers off the books, underpaying his taxes, and committing perjury in running his Upper East Side restaurant. In an agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Grimm agreed to plead guilty to one count, and the judge accepted his plea.
If Grimm is found guilty of that one count for falsifying the tax return on his Manhattan restaurant, he could face at least two years in prison and an order to pay $200,000 in restitution. It could also increase pressure on him to resign. He won’t be sentenced until June 8.
The charges came as part of a wider probe into Grimm’s campaign finances, which made national headlines when Grimm threatened to throw a NY1 reporter off a balcony for asking him about the investigation.
Grimm’s case was brought by US Attorney Loretta Lynch in New York’s Eastern District. Lynch has been nominated to become the next US Attorney General.