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 October 21, 2023

Former Florida state Representative Joe Harding sentenced to six months in prison

Former Florida state Representative Joe Harding (R) was sentenced to six months in prison for defrauding a coronavirus relief program for small businesses.

Harding resigned from his position in December after allegedly receiving $150,000 from the Small Business Administration under fraudulent circumstances.

Harding would then plead guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements in connection with COVID-19 relief fraud four months later.

U.S. Attorney Jason Coody stated, "The theft of any amount of taxpayer funds is inexcusable. However, the defendant’s deceptive acts of diverting emergency financial assistance from small businesses during the pandemic is simply beyond the pale."

Harding will now serve six months in federal prison for his actions and his political career is completely over.

Shocking outcome

Harding wasn't a nobody in Florida's political landscape as he was the mind behind Florida's HB 1557, a bill designed to prevent public school teachers from exposing young children to sexual content in classrooms.

That bill was inaccurately labeled the "Don't Say Gay," bill but leftist detractors, an inaccurate and hyperbolic name that the mainstream media was more than happy to run with.

The bill prevented instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

Harding must have been surprised about the level of resistance that his bill banning teachers from discussing sex with kindergartners got.

Thankfully, common sense prevailed and Florida passed Harding's bill which will now stand as his political legacy.

No doubt many Republicans were shocked to see Harding's downfall considering the success of HB 1557.

Covid-19 fraud

The Department of Justice has been busy the last few years with cracking down on individuals who defrauded Covid-19 relief programs.

A press release in August confirmed that the DOJ had prosecuted "371 defendants – for offenses related to over $836 million in alleged COVID-19 fraud."

Harding was just one of hundreds who believed they were above the law and would get away with fraudulent behavior.

Written By:
Robert Hoel

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