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Edward Walsh, Suffolk Conservative Party boss, indicted by grand jury

Edward Walsh, leaves the federal court building in

Edward Walsh, leaves the federal court building in Central Islip after being arraigned on Jan. 7, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

Edward Walsh, the powerful Suffolk County Conservative Party chairman and lieutenant in the Suffolk sheriff's department, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on theft of funds and wire fraud charges, according to court documents filed Friday.

Walsh, 49, of East Islip, who has served as Conservative Party chairman since 2006, is accused of defrauding the sheriff's department by claiming he was working when he was performing duties for the political party he heads at social and civic events.

Walsh was arrested and arraigned by U.S. Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson at the federal courthouse in Central Islip on Jan. 7. He was released on $50,000 bond. At the time, attorneys on both sides agreed that prosecutors would secure an indictment, work out a plea deal, dismiss the charges or ask for more time within two months.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office said there was no date set yet for Walsh to be arraigned on the indictment, and that the office would not comment on the case.

Prosecutors said Walsh had been falsely representing hours he worked to the sheriff's department between January 2011 and April 2014. He was employed as a Correction Officer III Investigator and worked in the Riverhead jail as an aide to Suffolk Sheriff Vincent DeMarco.

"Contrary to his representation to the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office that he was working regular and overtime hours . . . on numerous dates, Walsh was, among other things, playing golf or performing work on behalf of the Suffolk County Conservative Party," read the six-page indictment filed in U.S. District Court's Eastern District.

The indictment states that federal officials intend to "seek forfeiture" of any property Walsh may possess to recoup the value of the funds Walsh collected, including his pension or annuity associated with his employment as a correction officer.

Walsh declined to comment Friday and his attorney, William Wexler of North Babylon, could not be reached. But Wexler has said that while Walsh had been absent during periods of some shifts, he worked to make up the absences at other times and that he had worked every hour he claimed on time sheets and for which he was paid.

"This is another step in the prosecution of Edward Walsh," said DeMarco, who is Walsh's boss in his job as a correction officer.

DeMarco had launched an internal investigation into Walsh in February 2014 and suspended Walsh for 30 days the following June. DeMarco also filed departmental charges against Walsh and moved to fire him.

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