Ex-state lawmaker Johnson-Harrell ordered to begin house-arrest sentence

Former Pennsylvania state Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Former Pennsylvania state Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A former Pennsylvania state representative has been ordered to begin serving the house-arrest portion of her sentence in the theft of money from a nonprofit she established for the needy.

A judge said during a hearing Wednesday that probation officials weren’t able to set up house arrest for 54-year-old Movita Johnson-Harrell when she was released from jail in April because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Johnson-Harrell told the judge that she contracted COVID-19 in jail and recovered while self-quarantining at home.

Johnson-Harrell, a Democrat who represented part of west Philadelphia, was accused of taking money from the nonprofit and spending it on vacations, clothing and other personal needs. She pleaded guilty to felony theft and perjury and no contest to misdemeanor charges related to campaign and state financial reports.

She served two months in jail and was ordered to spend 8 1/2 months on house arrest and repay the nonprofit.

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