Town of Hempstead Councilman Edward Ambrosino pleaded guilty to tax evasion in federal court Wednesday, an occasion Town Supervisor Laura Gillen called a “sad day for the Town of Hempstead.”
Ambrosino also resigned from the Town Board Wednesday. He had been a councilman since 2003.
Ambrosino, an attorney, opened a bank account under the name of a company for which he was the sole shareholder and used it to divert more than $800,000 in legal fees from his clients. He also evaded income taxes and filed false corporate tax returns.
“I now call on the Town Council to do the right thing and break from their past practices of appointing a successor to the seat,” Gillen said in a statement. “The only way to properly restore integrity to this Town and to this Council district is by letting the voters decide who should represent them, not Republican Party bosses.”
Ambrosino, 54, faces up to five years in prison.
The North Valley Stream resident will pay $700,000 in restitution to the law firm he worked for and $254,628 to the IRS for taxes owed from 2011 to 2014.
Among the clients whose legal fees he fraudulently diverted were the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency and the Nassau County Local Economic Assistance Corporation, according to officials.
To file false corporate tax returns, Ambrosino again used the company for which he was the sole shareholder: Vanderbilt Consulting Group Inc.
“Just like the people who put him in office, Ambrosino owed it to his fellow citizens to pay his fair share of taxes,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a news release. “This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to holding accountable public officials who violate the law.”
As a lawyer, Ambrosino specialized in financing and development, according to officials. The firm he worked for is based in Uniondale.