A grand jury has indicted a Long Beach city councilman on charges he stole more than $14,000 in undeserved unemployment compensation over the past three years.
Michael Fagen was charged Tuesday in a 40-count indictment with grand larceny offering a false instrument for and petit larceny. The indictment was announced Wednesday.
Nassau County prosecutors said the 55-year-old man, who was elected in 2009, collects an annual salary of $19,828 as a city councilman. He is accused of continuing to receive unemployment benefits of $405 a week after taking office.
He also is accused of not reporting that he was employed as a salesman for a hotel membership benefits company.
District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Fagen violated voters’ trust “with every unemployment check he cashed and every dollar he stole from the taxpayers of this state.”
His attorney, Marc Gann, said Fagen intends to plead not guilty when he is arraigned at a later date. He contends Fagen is the victim of a “political witch hunt” in Long Beach.
Both Rice and Fagen are Democrats. The Long Beach city council has a Republican majority until the Democrats regained control in the November elections.
He faces up to seven years in prison, if convicted.
-With Associated Press.