Astoria Gym Teacher, Bodybuilder Charged With Loan Sharking

Man made loan with 104% interest rate, DA said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Nassau County District Attorney's Office
    Sean Harris of East Meadow has been charged with loan sharking.

    An Astoria gym teacher has been charged with loan sharking after he lent someone $40,000 – at an annual interest rate of 104 percent, prosecutors said.

    Sean Harris, 36, of East Meadow was arrested Tuesday night by the Nassau County Police Department’s DA Squad and formally charged with second-degree criminal usury, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

    She said that in late 2010 Harris, a physical education teacher at I.S. 141 in Astoria, agreed to lend $40,000 to an undisclosed person at an interest rate of 2 percent per week, which amounts to 104 percent per year. Any annual rate above 25 percent is considered criminal, Rice said.

    Harris was arraigned in Nassau First District Court Wednesday and released on his own recognizance, according to court records.

    He has another pending case in the county, after he was arrested on June 30 for seventh-degree drug possession for steroid possession, according to Rice’s office, which said Harris is a bodybuilder.

    “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.

    Harris’ attorney, Marc Gann, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday night.

    Harris is due back in court on the usury charge Dec. 21.