Former BTU president denied bond reduction
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A judge has denied former Broward Teacher's Union president Pat Santeramo a request to reduce his bond.
Now, he is left to struggle to get the money he needs to get out of jail. A Broward County judge showed little sympathy for Santeramo at the bond hearing, Wednesday morning. "Sir, you are charged with, in essence, 43 counts of racketeering," Judge Michael Orlando told him during the hearing at the Broward County Courthouse. "You're also charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering. There are six grand theft allegations. You are also charged with money laundering."
And the list goes on and on. Santeramo faces multiple charges for allegedly lining his pockets with money from the Broward Teacher's Union. He served as union president from 2001 through last December. "He's behind the scenes stealing their money," said Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti Broward County, "and that's sad."
Turning himself in on Tuesday, Santeramo knew about an investigation when he resigned. Ben Kuehne, Santeramo's Attorney said, "Mr. Santeramo has been aware of an on-going investigation for sometime, and I have been in touch with the State Attorney's Office during that time."
Santeramo's attorneys appeared in bond court Wednesday morning, asking for a bond reduction to $250,000. However, the judge upheld the original $480,000. Kuehne said he is confident his client can still meet the bond requirements for his release until trial. "I believe that we will be in a position to do that and satisfy the conditions of this bond, so Mr. Santeramo can dedicate his time and attention toward this case."
Santeramo stands accused of accepting $165,000 in kickbacks; $10,000 in bogus credit card charges and $121,000 in fake sick time.
Police said the owner of Martsan Construction, David Esposito, would pad invoices to the union and funnel the extra cash to Santeramo. Esposito is cooperating with authorities in exchange for immunity.
Lamberti said teachers paid for it all. "Every teacher in Broward County should be offended at this behavior, especially when they're working so hard," he said.
It remains unknown how long Santeramo will remain in jail. His family members are now working to pool together the money needed to help him post the bond so he can get him out of jail. The prosecutor's office said Santeramo definitely should have the assets to put together that bond.
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