Sunday, April 29, 2012

Son of a gun blames Daddy

Pedro’s boy distances self from loot

Last Updated: 5:02 AM, April 28, 2012
Posted: 1:07 AM, April 28, 2012

Pedro Espada Jr.’s son threw his dad right under the bus yesterday — with his lawyer telling a jury it was his father who ran the family’s scandal-scarred Bronx health care clinic.
“It was always his father’s company,” defense attorney Russell Gioiella said during his closing arguments in Brooklyn federal court. “There really is no evidence to connect Pedro [Gautier] Espada to anything.”
The two Espadas are charged with jointly stealing more than half a million dollars from the government-financed Bronx health facility and spending it on lavish dinners and other personal expenses.
FAMILY FIGHT: Pedro Gautier Espada (above) and dad Pedro Espada Jr. at court yesterday for their trial.
Riyad Hasan
 
FAMILY FIGHT: Pedro Gautier Espada (above) and dad Pedro Espada Jr. at court yesterday for their trial.
Pedro Espada Jr.
Riyad Hasan
Pedro Espada Jr.

But the way Gioiella told it, the money only went to the account of the elder Espada, a disgraced former Bronx state senator.
“The Banco Popular account is his. It always was. All the checks were signed by Pedro Espada Jr. That has nothing to do with Pedro G. Espada. He doesn’t have anything to do with that account,” Gioiella argued.
Espada Jr., who had spent his time in court this week reading — or pretending to read — a book, watched intently during Gioiella’s presentation and appeared to frown at one point.
Gioiella’s summation for Pedro Gautier Espada, 38, was in sharp contrast to the defense for his father. Espada Jr.’s lawyer, Susan Necheles, argued earlier this week that there was no crime at all — because her client ran Soundview Health Care Network and any money spent by it was his to spend as he pleased.
“You cannot steal if you’re permitted to get it,” she said. “So what if he wanted to live the good life? If you can do it on Wall Street . . . you can do it if you live in The Bronx, too.”
Maria Cruz, who had been Espada’s executive assistant, testified the senator put seven members of his family on Soundview’s board. Prosecutors pointed out that violates federal regulations.
But Gioiella said the son was in the clear. “He’s not at the board meetings. He’s not even on the board,” he told jurors.
Prosecutors claimed that Soundview was looted from January 2005 to February 2010. Gioiella argued that the younger Espada, who served as director of environmental care, was out of the picture for much of that time.
“If you look at all the case, all the evidence, every stitch of it, the first time that Gautier was even involved is in 2008,” he said.
Prosecutors had said the son was deeply involved in a scheme to loot $200,000 by renting Soundview Healthcare conference rooms and other facilities to medical professionals and religious groups and keeping the money in a for-profit company run by Gautier.
But Gioiella cited testimony by one prospective renter. “What did he have to say about Pedro G. Espada? Nothing!” he said.
Both Espadas face up to 10 years in prison for each of five counts of stealing from Soundview, plus additional years if convicted of wire fraud, conspiracy and cheating on taxes.
mmaddux@nypost.com

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/bronx/son_of_gun_blames_daddy_s40r1mwhs6Z5eTxtmgGc7O#ixzz1tRiuzz4P
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