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Former Hempstead Town Councilman Ed Ambrosino sentenced to 6 months in prison for tax evasion

Former Town of Hempstead Councilman Edward Ambrosino arrives

Former Town of Hempstead Councilman Edward Ambrosino arrives at federal court in Central Islip on April 3, 2019. Credit: James Carbone

Former Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino was sentenced Friday to six months in prison for tax evasion by a federal judge who said she was giving him “a substantial break.”

Ambrosino, 55, of North Valley Stream, had faced between 24 to 30 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines before pleading guilty in April to a single count of tax evasion he was charged with in 2017 in what federal prosecutors said was part of a complex scheme.

“I’m giving you a substantial break,” Joanna Seybert told Ambrosino from the bench at U.S. District Court in Central Islip, explaining she didn't think a guideline sentence was necessary for punishment.

Seybert also ordered Ambrosino to serve three years of supervised release and ordered him to repay the federal government $254,000 in back taxes; the state $56,000 in back taxes; and to reimburse $700,000 to his former law firm.

“I express remorse…I express regret,” Ambrosino said before his sentencing, declining to comment afterward.

Ambrosino’s attorney, James Druker, of Garden City, argued that the sentence was appropriate given the amount of the tax fraud.  Druker said his client had already repaid most of the taxes, but did not have the money to immediately repay the law firm.

“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,” Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District, said in a release. “Ambrosino, a licensed attorney and elected official charged with levying taxes, abused his positions of trust and was himself a tax cheat."

Eastern District spokesman John Marzulli declined to comment on the sentence. 

Ambrosino had already resigned his seat on the Hempstead Town Council after taking a guilty plea in April.  

He was a protégé of Nassau Republican leader Joseph Cairo, and a longtime friend, special counsel and  financial partner of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano. Mangano and his wife Linda are scheduled to be sentenced in the same federal court in December after conviction by Eastern District prosecutors on corruption-related charges.

Before being initially appointed to the Hempstead board in 2003, Ambrosino had been counsel to the Republican majority on the Nassau Legislature.

The single count to which Ambrosino pleaded guilty involved his reporting earnings of $369,000 in 2013, and owing $103,000 in taxes. For that year, Ambrosino did not report another $315,000 in earnings, prosecutors had said.

The original indictment involved a more complex scheme, spread over a number of years, and included failing to forward to his law firm money he earned working for two county agencies, and also claiming as business expenses the rental of a Manhattan apartment he had set up for an unidentified third party that he knew “were not business expenses,” according to prosecutors.       

Ambrosino,  an attorney whose legal specialty is economic and industrial development and financing, had served as counsel for the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency and the Nassau County Local Economic Assistance Corp.

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