Earlier Tuesday, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn returned an indictment charging Pedro Espada, Jr., a New York State Senator for the 33rd Senatorial District in the Bronx, New York, and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, with five counts of embezzlement from a nonprofit health care network receiving federal funding, and one count of conspiracy. They will make their first appearance in court Wednesday afternoon.
As detailed in the indictment, from 2005 through 2009, the defendants allegedly abused their positions at Soundview Healthcare Center, a network of health care clinics located in the Bronx, through a number of schemes designed to divert funds to their personal use and for the benefit of favored family members and friends. Pedro Espada founded Soundview in 1978 as a charitable not-for-profit organization. Soundview receives more than $1 million per year in federal grant money from the U.S. government as well as millions of dollars more in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
The total amount allegedly embezzled by the defendants exceeded $500,000.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo stated, “As alleged, Pedro Espada and his son spent years secretly siphoning money from a healthcare clinic in order to fund Espada’s lavish lifestyle. Taxpayer funds meant for the sick and poor were instead used for Broadway shows, fancy meals, and other opulent personal expenses of Senator Espada. Elected officials are supposed to serve the people not themselves, and this indictment should send a strong message: In New York, no one is above the law.”
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment on each of the embezzlement counts and five years’ imprisonment for conspiracy, as well as a fine of $250,000 on each count of conviction.