Miya Ponsetto, the woman who falsely accused a Black teenager of stealing her cellphone at Arlo hotel in New York City, has been charged with a federal hate crime.

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 CBS News reports, the 22-year-old pleaded not guilty to charges including unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment, and endangering the welfare of a child.

According to her attorney, Paul D’Emilia, “The charges alleged are a brazen and clear overreach of the intent of the statute. In sum, they are absurd, and a perversion of our legal system.”


Back in December 2020, Ponsetto falsely claimed 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr., stole her phone in the hotel lobby. The altercation was recorded by the teen’s father and was caught on surveillance video. Footage shows “SoHo Karen”, getting physical with the teenager in an attempt to retrieve her phone. Later, her phone was returned after an Uber driver found it in the back of their vehicle.

The Harold family reportedly filed a civil lawsuit, which includes hotel manager Chad Nathan as a defendant. The file alleges that Ponsetto and Nathan racially profiled the family and accuses the hotel of negligence.