Friday, August 12, 2011

Disgraced ex-state Sen. Pedro Espada signed new contract even while under investigation for fraud

Friday, August 12th 2011, 4:00 AM

Espada was indicted on federal Medicaid fraud charges in January.
Bryan Smith for News
Espada was indicted on federal Medicaid fraud charges in January.

ALBANY - Even as he was under investigation for misusing funds from his Bronx medical clinics, former Sen. Pedro Espada got a new contract from his board.

Soundview Health Care Network and Espada signed a multi-year deal on Dec. 6, a week before he was indicted by the feds for misusing $500,000 for personal benefit.

The contract was cited as a factor in a recommendation by the state medicaid inspector general's office that Soundview be booted from the Medicaid program.

"It was a thumb in the eye [at investigators]," said a Cuomo administration source.

The deal also came months after Gov. Cuomo, then the attorney general, accused Espada of "looting" Soundview of $14 million.

Soundview's board is made up of many relatives and cronies of Espada.

In recommending Soundview lose its Medicaid privileges, acting state Medicaid Inspector General James Cox decried a lack of seriousness by Soundview's board to come up with a compliance program.

The State Health Department also booted Soundview from the Medicaid program.

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