East Meadow man accused of loan-sharking
A New York City schoolteacher from Long Island has been charged with loan-sharking, after he lent someone $40,000 at an annual interest rate of 104 percent, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Sean Harris, 36, of East Meadow, was arrested Tuesday night by members of the Nassau County Police Department's district attorney squad and charged with second-degree criminal usury, a felony.
Harris, who pleaded not guilty, was released without bail. He faces up to 4 years in prison if convicted and is due back in court Dec. 21.
His lawyer, Marc Gann of Mineola, said only that he will "fight this charge in court, not in the press."
A spokeswoman for the New York City schools did not immediately confirm Harris' employment status.
Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a news release that in late 2010 Harris agreed to lend $40,000 to an acquaintance at an interest rate of 2 percent per week, amounting to an annual interest rate of 104 percent. Any loan with an annual interest rate of more than 25 percent is considered criminal, Rice said.
Harris, a physical education teacher at IS 141 in Astoria, Queens, and a professional bodybuilder, was arrested June 30 in Nassau and charged with steroid possession, authorities said. He is due back in court on that case Jan. 11.
"This defendant was trusted to educate children and serve as a positive role model in their lives, but instead he conducted himself like a common criminal," Rice said in a statement.