Monday, May 14, 2012

Pedro Espada Found Guilty On Multiple Fraud and Theft Counts

After spending the better part of two weeks deliberating without a verdict and various reports indicating that there was a possibility of a hung jury, the jury came back with a verdict on four of the counts against ex-Democrat ex-State Senator Pedro Espada Jr.

The jury found him guilty of theft and fraud relating to charges incurred by Soundview Healthcare Network, a charitable health care entity that Espada founded and operated for decades:
He faces 10 years in prison for every guilty count.

The jury, after delivering those four "guilty" findings, then resumed deliberating on the remaining four criminal counts against Espada — and the eight remaining counts against his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, who is accused in the same scheme.

The Espadas are accused of looting more than $500,000 from Soundview Healthcare Network by having the federally supported non-profit pay for personal expenses ranging from Puerto Rican vacations to sushi dinners to family birthday parties.

Those expenses were allegedly falsely claimed to be related to legitimate business purposes for Soundview, which is supposed to help poor Bronx residents get quality health care.

Three of today's theft convictions of Espada relate to swindling that occurred from 2005 to 2007, while the fourth conviction was for a combined theft and fraud charge. The convictions mean that Espada faces the potential of at least 40 years behind bars, regardless of the outcome of further deliberations.
The jury had been deadlocked over whether they could find Espada guilty separate from the acts of his son, Pedro G. Espada. They apparently came to a resolution on the father's acts on a number of the allegations, and may well find his son guilty of the same charges.

Espada has been in the news before. He had previously been part of an attempt to shift political control in the State Senate (the coup) when he and fellow Democrat Hiram Monserrate defected to the GOP to try and gain more power for themselves, and has been at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (who initiated the investigation into Soundview while Cuomo was the state's Attorney General).

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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