Pedro Espada Jr. found guilty of embezzlement in partial verdict
Last Updated: 4:52 PM, May 14, 2012
Posted: 11:45 AM, May 14, 2012
Riyad HasanEx-state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. got blasted with a grand slam of guilty verdicts today by a Brooklyn federal court jury -- which then declared itself deadlocked on the remaining charges against Espada and his son.
Espada was convicted of four separate counts of theft related to his rampant looting of the Bronx-based health care charity he controlled for decades.
Esapda -- who had no visible reaction to the damning verdicts when they were announced -- faces 10 years in prison for every guilty count.
The jury, after delivering those four "guilty" findings, then resumed deliberating on the remaining four criminal counts against Espada — and the eight remaining identical counts against his son, Pedro Gautier "G" Espada, who is accused in the same scheme.
Several hours later, jurors said they were deadlocked on remaining charges against Espada and on all the counts against his son.
"We cannot reach a unanimous decision on any of the other remaining counts," a note from jurors said.
"We are prepared to accept that" deadlock, federal prosecutor Caroline Pokorny told Judge Frederic Block.
Prosecutors said they will asked Block to decide whether Espada should forfeit as much as $480,000 to compensate taxpayers for the money he was convicted of stealing from his charity.
Both Espadas were charged with looting more than $545,000 from Soundview Healthcare Network by having the federally supported non-profit pay for personal expenses ranging from Puerto Rican vacations to sushi dinners to family birthday parties.
Those expenses were allegedly falsely claimed to be related to legitimate business purposes for Soundview, which is supposed to help poor Bronx residents get quality health care.
Today's four convictions of the elder Espada, each for "theft, embezzlement and misapplication of federal funds," related to Espada's swindling of more than $480,000 from 2005 to 2008.
The four counts against Espada that jurors deadlocked on include a charge of "theft, embezzlement and misapplication of" more than $65,000 in federal funds charge for the year 2009, a charge of conspiring with "G" Espada to commit such theft, wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
If prosecutors choose to do so, they can seek to retry both Espadas on the charges that they jury was deadlocked on.
Both Espadas also face a looming trial in Manhattan federal court, where they are accused of various tax crimes related to their alleged failure to declare the money allegedly looted from Soundview as income, and other charges.
Today's partial verdict came on the 11th day of deliberations, which began after a one-and-a-half month trial.
The jury's prior two weeks of deliberations were marked by accusations by some jurors that a sole juror had refused to deliberate since virtually the beginning of the jury's discussions.
Judge Block also had noted that he had repeatedly heard raised voices in the deliberations room.
Espada late last week bizarrely claimed that prosecutors and a female FBI agent were using some kind of black magic to influence jurors suspected of being favorable to Espada by sitting in those jurors' vacant seats in the courtroom while the jury was deliberating in another room.
On Thursday, in a move to counteract the prosecution's alleged sorcery, Espada ostentatiously draped a set of rosary beads around his neck -- which is not their typical use for Catholics such as himself -- and on Friday members of his entourage all wore red clothing.
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