Former Suffolk County Conservative Party leader Edward Walsh entered the federal prison in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Tuesday to begin serving a two-year sentence for wire fraud and theft of government services, according to federal records.
He was convicted last year of pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay from the Suffolk sheriff’s department while golfing, gambling and politicking on county time.
Walsh, 51, of East Islip, who 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 three years of supervised release.
He was convicted of the charges in March 2016 after a 10-day trial by a jury that deliberated for only an hour. He was sentenced on June 21.
Walsh’s attorney, Nathaniel Marmur, of New York, declined to comment on Tuesday.
The Morgantown Federal Correctional Institution is a minimum security facility on a rolling green campus. It is 435 miles away from Long Island, or about a seven-and-a-half hour drive.
Though the Conservative Party is a minority party, it is highly influential and its voters often provide the margin of victory in county elections.
At trial, the government’s case against Walsh was based substantially on FBI agents comparing the time sheets Walsh had submitted to the sheriff’s department with the records of his locations based on his telephone, credit cards, golfing and gambling outings. In addition to golfing, gambling and politicking, an agent also testified that Walsh billed the sheriff’s department for time at his tailors and at home.
Defense attorneys maintained that Walsh was supposed to serve as a liaison for the sheriff’s department to government officials and the public, and that he had flexibility over when and where he worked. Government prosecutors argued that Walsh was supposed to be on duty at the sheriff’s department and that he was supposed to follow a regular schedule of shifts there.