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Prosecutors Say Ex-NY Senator and Son Bilked Health Clinic Network
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On Wednesday, referring to the acts of the former New York state Senate Majority Leader, a Democrat, and those of his son, U.S. attorney Carolyn Pokorny told a Brooklyn Jury: “They did it because they were greedy, they did it because they were powerful, and they did it because they thought they were going to get away with it.”

The case is United States v. Espada, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, No. 10-985.

Pedro Espada Jr. and his son Pedor Gautier Espada were charged in 2010 with embezzlement and conspiracy of bilking more than $500,000 from the coffers of Soundview Healthcare Center, a federally funded health clinic network run by Espada.

  
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The Espadas allegedly turned Soundview and a janitorial services company called Community Expansion Development Corporation to have a sound view of their ‘family slush fund’ and then put it under expansion development.

The non-profits ended up paying for the Esapdas’s “sushi and lobster,” extravagant parties, luxury items, and pricey cars, as well as lavish gifts for family members and themselves, which obviously was their interpretation of ‘community expansion and development.’

However, other elite friends have gathered around the Democrat leader and there’s sufficient legal maneuvering to let us all learn a bit.

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For instance, the U.S. District Judge, Frederic Block, who is trying the present case, had last week, thrown out charges against the Espadas in a superseding indictment with submitting false tax returns and making false statements to federal agencies. The reason for throwing out the case was not that the charges were proven to be false, but that the esteemed judge quite rightfully held that such charges should have been made before the Southern District of New York instead of in the Eastern District. A jurisdictional issue over where the offenses should be tried.

Adding some new types of defense arguments, Espada’s lawyer Susan Nechles described that her client was “virtually incompetent” in financial matters, and the accountants of Soundview, many of whom have received immunity as government witnesses, were the actual parties responsible for any errors in expenses made by Espada.



Nechles further added that the government was targeting Espada because he made a salary of nearly $500,000 a year from Soundview. However the defense did not comment as to how a man declared by the defense itself as “virtually incompetent” in an organization merited such a large salary there.

The defense for Espada argued “It’s not a crime in America to be paid a lot of money … It’s not even a crime to be paid a lot of money from a charity.” Nechles also added that as the company’s founder, CEO, and largest creditor, Espada’s contract entitled him to use his corporate credit card for personal expenses.

Do those principles extend also to federally funded charities? If not, then both Espada and his son can face up to 10 years on embezzlement of funds and up to 5 years on conspiracy charges.



 

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