Former New York State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., who pleaded guilty to tax fraud, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.
The once-influential politician was convicted previously in a separate case alleging he looted taxpayer-subsidized health clinics.
Espada operated the clinics in the South Bronx for three decades until authorities accused him of turning the network into a personal ATM. Prosecutors have said Espada spent some of the stolen funds on lobster dinners, the remodeling of his Westchester home, flowers for his wife and ponies for a grandchild's birthday party.
He had faced a maximum term of about seven years. His lawyers urged the judge to spare him any time behind bars.
Speaking before the sentence was handed down, Espada offered no signs of remorse. He instead talked about Soundview Healthcare Network's history of providing care to poor New Yorkers.
"What I created was not a piggy bank, but a lifeline to the community," he said.
He also spoke about his 11 grandchildren, saying, "I wish to be available to them as a grandfather."
Espada blew a kiss to supporters before deputy marshals took him out of courtroom.