'Don’t Say Gay' Bill Author Must Resign After Being Indicted Serious Fraud Charges

After being indicted on wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements charges, a Florida state representative behind the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics, announced his resignation.
The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Florida returned a six-count indictment against Joseph Harding, who is accused of scheming to defraud the Small Business Administration and obtaining COVID-19-related loans under false pretenses.

don't say gay billSource: The Advocate

Harding, 35, allegedly sought Economic Injury Disaster Loans using the names of shuttered Harding, 35, is accused of applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans under the names of closed companies. Furthermore, he is accused of obtaining fabricated bank records for one of those abandoned businesses in order to receive more than $150,000 in funding from the SBA.
Florida state Rep. Joe Harding listens during a Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee hearing in a legislative session on Jan. 13, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Harding was charged with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of engaging in monetary transactions with funds derived from unlawful activity and two counts of making false statements to the SBA.

don't say gay billSource: CNN

 A day after joining a not guilty plea to all charges in federal court, Harding announced his immediate resignation from the Florida House on Thursday.
"It has been a great honor to serve the people of this state and more specifically the people of Levy and Marion Counties," he said in a letter of resignation to Florida House Speaker Paul Renner. "However, due to legal issues that require my complete focus, it is my opinion that now is the time to allow someone else to serve my district."
In a statement, Harding said he cannot comment on the details of his case, though added that he has "repaid every penny of the loan I obtained, and I have done my best to cooperate fully with all authorities."

don't say gay billSource: WKBN

Harding's trial is set for Jan. 11 next year. If convicted, the maximum prison sentence he faces for the offenses is 20 years for wire fraud, 10 years for money laundering and five years for making false statements, according to the Department of Justice. ABC News did not receive a response from his attorney to an email seeking comment.
As a state representative, Harding introduced the controversial parental rights and education bill earlier this year. The bill quickly passed the state legislature and was signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in March.
The law bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. It also states that any instruction on those topics cannot occur "in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards," according to the legislation, HB 1557. Parents could sue their school district if they believe there is a violation.
Read more: What Is “Don't Say Gay” Bill Law? Fully Explained is a website that provides you with new updates and creative ideas to brighten your day. Don’t hesitate to visit our site to know more about daily updated news.
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