- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 18, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A former Providence city councilman who pleaded no contest to embezzling campaign money will be allowed to keep his city pension, according a board that oversees the pension system.

The Providence Journal reports that the panel voted 8-1 on Tuesday to take no action against Luis Aponte. The former Democratic councilman will continue receiving $502 a month from the retirement system.

Aponte pleaded no contest in July after authorities said he embezzled nearly $14,000 from his campaign. He was accused of using the money to cover personal expenses including Netflix, Xbox Live and iTunes subscriptions, as well as cable bills and gas.

City Treasurer James Lombardi, who is president of the retirement board, said Aponte deserved to keep his pension because the alleged misconduct was not directly tied to his work as a councilman.

“I thought about the situation, and it was my opinion that it was not related to his public employment, which is a requirement of the statute,” Lombardi told The Journal. “There was no allegation that it pertained to any city funds.”

Aponte spent 20 years representing a section of the city that includes Lower South Providence and Washington Park. He stepped down as City Council president after he was initially charged in May 2017.

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