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Espada Jr., Son Charged With Embezzling Funds

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State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, were indicted Tuesday on five counts of embezzlement and one count of conspiracy.

They're accused stealing more than $500,000 from Soundview Healthcare Center, a nonprofit health care network in the Bronx, founded by Espada in 1978.

Attorney General and Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo alleges the Democrat and his son used the money to pay for personal expenses, Broadway plays, meals for his family, cars, and home decorating.

"They were living high on the hog, as they would say, and they were, in a cruel twist of fate, in a really obnoxious perversion of intent, using funds that were supposed to go to provide healthcare for poor people to live a luxurious, extravagant lifestyle," Cuomo told reporters Tuesday.

Espada, Jr. grabbed power in Albany after he staged a coup in June 2009.

By aligning himself with Republicans, he shut down the senate for over a month before agreeing to team up with his party members as their leader.

He lost his bid for re-election in the September primary.

There was no sign of life at Espada's home in upstate Mamaroneck Tuesday.

The senator has been accused of illegally making his primary residence in the suburb north of his Bronx district.

Espada and his son are due to appear in Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday.

In a statement, a representative for the senator said, "Thirty years ago Senator Espada founded the Soundview Health Care Center. Soundview has provided high quality health care to thousands of families, children and senior citizens in the Bronx. Today is a sad day for Soundview and a sad day for the Espada family. Senator Espada and his son deny any wrongful doing and we intend to fight the charges in court."

If convicted on all counts, both face a maximum 50 years in prison and more than a million dollars in fines.

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