Philly State Rep Running for Reelection Is a Convicted Felon

State Rep. Leslie Acosta, who represents the 197th District, pleaded guilty in March to a felony count of conspiring to commit money laundering.

Leslie Acosta

Image via video from PA House

Leslie Acosta is the state representative for the 197th District in Philadelphia, a roughly Trojan horse-shaped district in North Philadelphia that is largely Latino. She is running for reelection in November, unopposed. She is also a convicted felon.

The Inquirer’s Jeremy Roebuck broke the story this afternoon that Acosta pleaded guilty in March in a secret court proceeding to one count of conspiring to commit money laundering. Her conviction, which remains under seal, was never announced by prosecutors. Nor did U.S. Rep. Bob Brady — chairman of the city Philadelphia City Democratic Committee — know about it when the Inquirer reached him for comment. “Two people can keep a secret if one’s dead,” he said. “Maybe she figured she if she didn’t tell anybody it would keep people like you from finding out.”

The paper reported that Acosta, the first Latina in the state House, is cooperating with prosecutors in the case against Renee Tartaglione, indicted in January and accused of conspiracy, fraud and theft. Acosta did not return a call for comment from Philadelphia magazine. Chris Warren, her attorney, said she wouldn’t have a statement.

Per the Inquirer, Acosta admitted to accepting checks from the Juniata Community Mental Health Clinic, cashing them, and kicking the money back to Tartaglione, her boss. Tartaglione has denied all of the charges against her. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bea Witzleben argued in court last week the guilty plea was sealed because of “security concerns.”

Acosta will be sentenced in January. She was first elected to office in 2014, defeating incumbent J.P. Miranda in a four-way primary. Miranda himself pleaded guilty to one felony charge of conflict of interest in a “ghost employee” case in which Miranda paid his sister with taxpayer money.

Acosta made news a year ago when she had her mic turned off when she argued against a bill making English the official language of the state.