Making a Profit from a Non-Profit

Movita Johnson-Harrell, a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, has resigned from office after being accused of using funds for personal items from a non-profit she created to help people struggling with addiction, poverty and mental illness. She founded the non-profit, Motivations, Education & Consultation Associates (MECA), after losing four family members, her father, brother, cousin and son, to gun violence.

Johnson-Harrell is alleged to have spent more than $500,000 from the charity’s bank accounts to pay for vacations, private school tuition for her grandchildren, designer clothes, matching furs for her and her husband, and a Porsche. She also funneled money from the account into her state representative campaign. The disgraced politician took money from her clients’ government benefits, which the non-profit controlled to provide housing, and then covered it up by lying on her personal financial records, those of the non-profit and her campaign.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro claims that Johnson-Harrell committed tax fraud when she failed to report her MECA spending as income. In addition to making direct transfers to her bank account, Johnson-Harrell wrote numerous checks made out to ‘cash’ whenever she needed extra money. Johnson-Harrell is awaiting trial.

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