Former Surgeon General Antonia Novello has pleaded guilty to a felony to avoid prison time for forcing state employees to handle personal chores when she was New York’s health commissioner.
The plea deal calls for 250 hours of community service at an Albany health clinic and $22,500 in restitution. Novello faced up to 12 years in prison if convicted on all charges in an indictment that said her misuse of the workers cost taxpayers $48,000.
She pleaded guilty to filing a false document involving a worker’s duties.
Novello, originally from Puerto Rico, was accused of using state workers to chauffeur her on shopping trips and rearrange heavy furniture at her apartment while she was New York’s top health official. She was surgeon general under President George H.W. Bush.