Levy County businessman pleads guilty to stealing nearly $8 million in US pandemic aid


A Levy County man will be sentenced in January in federal court after he pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal government of nearly $8 million in relief aid meant to help average Americans during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to court records.

Businessman Patrick P. Walsh, 41, of Williston, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering at the federal courthouse in Gainesville two weeks ago. The judge allowed him to remain free until he is sentenced at the end of January. Walsh did not immediately respond to a phone message and text on Tuesday night.

Walsh was accused of defrauding the government of $7.8 million through the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, two federal loan initiatives. They were intended to help business owners continue to pay their employees during the economic crisis caused by the pandemic instead of laying them off.

Prosecutors said Walsh filed false loan applications with the Small Business Administration and various banks in 2020 in which he overstated the number of his employees, average payroll expenses and gross revenue at 20 business entities by duplicating employee information so he could secure larger loans, according to court records.

Walsh’s first attempt at defrauding the government was unsuccessful. Walsh filed a Paycheck Protection Program loan application with J.P. Morgan Chase Bank for three of his companies on April 7, 2020, overstating their employee and salary numbers. Chase Bank ultimately rejected the application.

Walsh requested loans totaling $11.9 million and ultimately obtained $4.9 million in loans for his companies based on his falsified applications, including IRS forms that Walsh personally signed, court records said.

Walsh obtained $2.8 million in Economic Injury Disaster Loans under his name and that of his wife, Hannah Walsh, without her knowledge or consent, by overstating company employee numbers and gross revenue totals, prosecutors said. Walsh received total loans of just over $7.8 million out of a requested total of $14.7 million, according to federal court records.

Walsh initially pleaded not guilty to all charges but pleaded guilty on all charges as part of a plea agreement on Aug. 30.

Walsh is to be released on $500,000 bond until his sentencing at the end of January.
___
This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.


ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror ror

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.