|(File photo by Jeanmarie Evelly)|
Both men are charged with five counts of embezzlement--to the alleged tune of more than $500,000--and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment for each count of embezzlement and five years for the conspiracy count, or 55 years behind bars.
A 17-page indictment from U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch details the ways in which Espada and his son allegedly used their nonprofit healthcare network Soundview, which receives $1 million a year in federal funding, to the financial benefit of themselves and their family and friends--accusations first made by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a civil lawsuit this spring.
Espada allegedly used Soundview's corporate credit card to pay for things like $100,000 in meals and tickets to Broadway shows, and set up a for-profit janitorial company with his son, to which they diverted funds from the health clinics to use for their own personal and political expenses.
Their purchases, according to the statement, include a petting zoo and pony rides at a family member's birthday party, an attempted down payment for a Bentley automobile and the rent for Espada's campaign headquarters, among others.
“The indictment alleges that funds that could and should have been applied to purchase medical equipment and enhance health care services for an historically under-served population were diverted by the defendants for their personal use and to benefit friends and family members,” Lynch said.
The Senate Majority Leader has been unusually quiet since his primary loss to political newcomer Gustavo Rivera in September, and failed to appear at two legislative sessions in Albany last month.
But today, Espada released a puzzling and extensive 34-page report of what he considers to be his "achievements," during his two years in office in the 33rd Senate District.
In the document, Espada claims responsibility for things like enacting term limits for legislative leaders, sparing free student MetroCards from MTA cuts, and leading "a sweeping and uncompromising ethics reform agenda," in the State Senate.
Both Espada and his son are expected to appear before a federal judge in Brooklyn tomorrow afternoon.