Congressman George Santos Charged with Fraud, Money Laundering, Theft of Public Funds, and False Statements
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, Edward Ambrosino, a former Town of Hempstead Councilman, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for tax evasion, to be followed by three years’ supervised release. The Court also ordered Ambrosino to pay $700,000 in restitution to his former employer and $254,628 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ambrosino pleaded guilty in April 2019. The sentencing proceeding was held before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the sentence.
“Ambrosino, a licensed attorney and elected official charged with levying taxes, abused his positions of trust and was himself a tax cheat,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This is yet another example of a public official on Long Island breaking the law, this time by failing to pay his fair share of taxes like every other citizen.” Mr. Donoghue expressed his thanks to IRS-CI and the FBI for their help during the investigation.
“The tax evasion perpetuated by Mr. Ambrosino impacts various services provided by the income taxes collected by the IRS on behalf of all of our citizens,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen.
As detailed in court filings, Ambrosino was an attorney licensed to practice in New York State, specializing in economic and industrial development and financings, and formerly was “Of Counsel” at a law firm based in Uniondale, New York (the “Law Firm”). In addition, Ambrosino served as a Councilman for the Town of Hempstead, New York, from March 2003 until he resigned last April.
In 2011, Ambrosino incorporated Vanderbilt Consulting Group, Inc. (“Vanderbilt”). Ambrosino was the sole shareholder of Vanderbilt. In September 2012, Ambrosino opened a bank account in the name of Vanderbilt (the “Vanderbilt Bank Account”); he was the sole authorized signer on the Vanderbilt Bank Account.
From 2013 through 2015, Ambrosino diverted to the Vanderbilt Bank Account more than $800,000 in legal fees from clients, including the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (NCIDA) and the Nassau County Local Economic Assistance Corporation (NCLEAC), that were due as revenue to the Law Firm. While the defendant neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing with regard to his conduct related to the Law Firm, as part of his sentence, the Court ordered the defendant to pay $700,000 in restitution to the Law Firm.
Ambrosino also evaded substantial income tax and filed false and fraudulent corporate tax returns on behalf of Vanderbilt for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 tax years. Ambrosino evaded the assessment of income tax by claiming false and fraudulent business expense deductions and failing to report funds he diverted from the Law Firm. Specifically, Ambrosino claimed as a business expense rent for a Manhattan apartment that he paid for on behalf of a third-party. In addition, for the 2013 tax year, Ambrosino failed to claim approximately $335,000 in funds he diverted from the Law Firm on either his personal income tax return or the Vanderbilt corporate tax return. With respect to the 2014 tax year, Ambrosino did not timely file his personal tax return or the corporate tax return for Vanderbilt. As a result of Ambrosino’s conduct, the IRS suffered a tax loss of approximately $254,628 and the New York State Tax Department suffered a tax loss of approximately $56,517. At the time of sentencing, Ambrosino had substantially paid his tax debt to the IRS and the New York State Tax Department.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Catherine M. Mirabile is in charge of the prosecution.
North Valley Stream, NY
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-162 (JS)
United States Attorney’s Office