An Atlantic City police sergeant lied about her relationship with a convicted drug dealer and made $120,000 in cash bank deposits in small amounts to avoid raising suspicions, authorities said Monday in announcing her arrest.
Sgt. Kiyia Harris, 39, lied when she said she did not know her boyfriend was on probation and wearing an electronic monitoring device on his ankle for a time, federal prosecutors said.
Harris, who lives in Egg Harbor Township, was arrested Monday by FBI agents and appeared later in the day in federal court, where she seemed distraught as she nervously fidgeted while a judge explained the charges.
"She is a decorated, very well respected and highly devoted Atlantic City police officer, with impeccable character," her lawyer, James Leonard, said after her court appearance. "We look forward to our day in court."
In court filings, federal prosecutors say Harris made $120,000 in cash deposits in her bank accounts from 2007 through last year — all in increments of under than $10,000 each. Banks are required to report deposits greater than that amount to regulators.
She was charged with structuring deposits regarding two transactions totaling nearly $18,000. The other $102,000 in such deposits were listed as examples of false statements to investigators, who said she had denied making such cash deposits when she was interviewed by the FBI in December.
She's also accused of making false statements regarding her relationship with a convicted drug dealer who was identified in court papers only by the initials D.W. He was on probation from 2010 through last year and was arrested again in December 2014 in her home.
Authorities say Harris told the FBI she had only a few financial dealings with him, including sharing one credit card, running a sneaker store together and paying his E-ZPass bill. But the government said she had many financial dealings with him, including making a $6,500 payment on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
"I believe Harris attempted to concoct a story by which she could plausibly deny having seen D.W.'s electronic monitoring device," FBI special agent Jessica Weisman said in an affidavit. It was on his ankle for more than three months in 2013.
Harris was released from custody Monday on a list of conditions, including that she not leave New Jersey without permission. No further court appearances are to be scheduled until at least September.