State senator from BX pleads not guilty to grant misuse charges

A longtime state senator in the Bronx has pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he conspired to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from local organizations.

Senator Efrain Gonzalez Jr. (D-The Bronx) is accused of conspiring to steal more than $400,000 from Bronx organizations in order to use it for himself. Prosecutors say Gonzalez took advantage of charity groups to hide money he eventually intended to use to buy a home in the Dominican Republic as well as pay for his daughter's tuition. They say he also planned to use some of the money to fund his own cigar business. According to investigators, the senator steered state grants to charity groups with the intention of keeping the money for a five-year period.

Gonzalez was first elected in 1990. If convicted, he could face more than 100 years in prison.

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