Clement Gardner, a former aide to Sen. Ruben Diaz, D-Bronx, was sentenced today to two to six years in prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from two taxpayer-funded charities, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced.
Gardner pleaded guilty in February to the felony charges. Gardner was the financial manager of the non-profit Diaz founded in the Bronx.
After Gardner’s arrest in March 2012, Diaz, the lone member of the Four Amigos in 2009 not in jail, disavowed Gardner: “I assure you that if I ever lose my salvation, it will not be for taking money because I am in the business of giving not in the business of taking.”
As U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the arrests this week two state lawmakers—Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, D-Bronx, and Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Bronx—Schneiderman is also pledging to root out corruption in Albany. Bharara, though, has a long list of state lawmakers he has locked up.
“We will not tolerate those who abuse the public trust for personal gain, and will continue to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Today’s sentence brings justice for Mr. Gardner’s crimes,” Schneiderman said in a statement.