Suffolk political leader arraigned on fraud charges
Suffolk's politically powerful Conservative Party boss Ed Walsh surrendered to the FBI Wednesday morning and was arraigned on fraud charges.
As News 12 and Newsday first reported, Walsh is being investigated for allegedly billing Suffolk County for hours he was supposed to have been working as a lieutenant in the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, but allegedly was not. Walsh denied those accusations in April.
The federal complaint claims he was paid over $80,000 while he was golfing, visiting casinos or doing Conservative Party work.
Walsh's attorney William Wexler insists his client is innocent. He says Walsh didn't have set hours.
"His job was to meet with the unions, to go to hospitals...That - to my understanding - was his job as liaison," said Wexler. "He wasn't assigned to cellblock C, to sit there and guard the prisoners. That wasn't his job."
Wexler says the charges are the result of a dispute between Walsh and Sheriff Vincent DeMarco.
Sheriff DeMarco says Walsh's job required him to be in the correctional facility.
"Violation of the public trust by a sworn officer flies in the face of the oath of office and is inexcusable," said DeMarco.
Walsh didn't enter a plea pending a possible federal grand jury indictment. The case is in federal court because Washington provides the sheriff's department with some federal funds.
Walsh posted $50,000 bond. His attorneys say his case could take 15-20 months to resolve. Walsh faces a 10-year sentence if convicted.