Edward Walsh, the former politically powerful Suffolk County Conservative Party leader, was sentenced Tuesday to 2 years in prison following his conviction on federal charges of wire fraud and theft of government services for pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Suffolk sheriff’s department while golfing, gambling and politicking on county time.
In addition, Walsh — who also worked as a lieutenant in the sheriff’s department — was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt at the federal courthouse in Central Islip to make $202,000 in restitution, forfeit an additional $245,000, and serve 3 years supervised release.
Walsh, 51, of East Islip, was convicted of the charges in March 2016 after a 10-day trial by a jury that deliberated for only an hour.
“I humbly accept the verdict of the jury,” Walsh told the judge before sentencing. “I will continue to make the world a better place . . . I will love this great country and everything it stands for.”
Spatt said he hoped the sentence would send a message to other public servants. “ ‘Don’t do this.’ . . . This defendant undermined the trust that is essential to the functioning of our government,” the judge said.
Spatt said Walsh had “cheated and defrauded the citizens of this community.”
But Spatt added that in determining the proper sentence, he also took into account that Walsh had led “a good and productive life . . . and has helped many people.”
Walsh’s attorneys had asked that he not be sentenced to prison, but instead to home detention and community service. Federal prosecutors had asked for up to 30 months.
In recommending a sentence for Walsh, Eastern District prosecutor Raymond Tierney said he still maintained influence as a number of people connected to the Conservative party had written letters of support to the judge.
Walsh and his attorneys declined to comment on the sentence as they left the courthouse. Federal prosecutors Tierney and Catherine Mirabile also declined to comment.