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Friday, September 19, 2014

Pedro Espada sentenced to five years in prison

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted

Former state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. is behind bars.

Friday afternoon, a federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced Mr. Espada to five years in prison for stealing from the Soundview Healthcare Network and for not filing a personal income tax form in 2005.

After handing down the sentence — which also includes 100 hours of community service, $118,531 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, $368,088 in forfeiture and a still undetermined amount of restitution for the victims of his thefts — Judge Frederic Block remanded Mr. Espada to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.

When Judge Block finished the sentence, Mr. Espada — who represented Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights and a slice of Riverdale in the state Senate from 2009 to 2010 — stood up, turned to his wife seated in the public gallery, blew her a kiss and was escorted out of the courtroom.

Mr. Espada's jail term will be followed by three years of supervised release.

When given a chance to speak before the sentencing, Mr. Espada expressed no remorse for the crimes he was convicted of. He focused on the Soundview Healthcare Network, saying it was being unfairly depicted in the media and in court. He said patients have always been the "centerpiece" of the organization.

"Soundview has been depicted as this piggy bank ... when in fact Soundview was so much more," he said, adding that it was a pioneer in helping those infected with HIV in the 1980s and provided service to an underserved area of the Bronx for 30 years.  

His attorney, Angel Cruz, asked the judge not to incarcerate Mr. Espada for the sake of his family. Mr. Espada echoed this, saying he wants to be there for his 11 grandchildren and his wife.

"I want to be available to them as their grandfather," Mr. Espada said.

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