Harding pleaded not responsible throughout an listening to on Tuesday, the identical day the grand jury indicted him, and mentioned he has repaid the loans. He was launched on bond shortly after the preliminary listening to.
The indictment alleges he fraudulently acquired $150,000 in federal pandemic help by means of. His trial is about for Jan. 11 in Gainesville federal courtroom.
Shortly after the indictment was unsealed Wednesday, Florida Home Speaker Paul Renner introduced Harding was faraway from his committee posts. He mentioned as a result of the allegation didn’t contain his service as a member of the Florida Home, he wouldn’t remark additional.
The indictment unsealed by the federal authorities claims that Harding listed The Vak Shack and Harding Farms, each corporations that had been inactive since 2017, on utility for SBA loans designed to assist small companies survive the pandemic. He additionally lied about their income numbers, financial institution statements, and worker counts to safe the loans, federal investigators allege.
The Marion County consultant was first elected in 2020 and is greatest recognized for being the Home sponsor for laws that banned dialogue of gender id or sexual orientation in school rooms up till third grade. The invoice, which opponents branded the “Don’t Say Homosexual” invoice, sparked protests and acquired nationwide consideration.
A particular election will now be held to fill his vacant seat.