Thursday, March 22, 2012

Espada scammed higher salary: clinic lawyer

Pedro Espada Jr., who is facing corruption charges alongside  his son Pedro Gautier

Jesse Ward for New York Daily News

Jesse Ward for New York Daily News

At the corruption trial against former State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. and his son Pedro Gautier, government evidence photos show petting zoo animals allegedly paid for using a $500 check from CEDC, a janitorial company controlled by the Espadas.

PEDRO ESPADA, JR. hoodwinked the general counsel of his Soundview health clinic into believing he had reduced his salary by nearly $60,000 in response to concerns by federal regulators.

After Espada was elected to the state Senate in 2008, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration suggested that his salary should be cut since he would no longer be working full-time at the non-profit clinic.

In the ongoing embezzling and tax fraud trial of Espada and his son Pedro Gautier, the clinic’s lawyer Alex Fear testified in Brooklyn Federal Court on Thursday that Espada directed him to draft a letter stating that the senator’s salary had been lowered from $246,000 to $168,000.

But prosecutors say Espada had raised his salary three weeks earlier so the pay cut actually wasn’t a cut at all.

Fear said he would never have sent the letter to HRSA had he known the information was false. He was fired last year.

Espada and his son Pedro Gautier are charged with embezzling more than $500,000 from the non-profits coffers to fund their lavish lifestyle.

Caroline Buckler, a Bronx caterer, testified that she cooked up a Puerto Rican dishes, salads and a strawberry shortcake for a birthday party for Espada’s mother, and a giant Barney the dinosaur cake for his grandaughter’s birthday — paid for by a janitorial company CEDC, which was controlled by the Espadas.

“I remember I had to buy different food colorings, purple and green (for Barney),” Buckler said.

The owner of a Bronx equestrian company also testified that Espada paid her with a $500 check from CEDC for petting zoo animals she provided for his granddaughter’s party.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/espada-scammed-higher-salary-clinic-lawyer-article-1.1048476#ixzz1pqXBU9pa
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