Tampa’s NBC affiliate reports:
In January a blimp company executive in Florida, Patrick Walsh, will be sentenced after pleading guilty to wire fraud, also from charges related to pandemic aid fraud. Walsh, of Williston, was accused of fraudulently obtaining millions in pandemic assistance, in August 2022.
Walsh is now-former Florida state Rep. Joe Harding’s brother-in-law. In court documents, prosecutors said Walsh also applied for loans in his wife’s name, without her knowledge, as reported by the Gainesville Sun and WUFT. Walsh’s wife is Hannah Walsh, née Harding.
More about the brother-in-law’s case:
Walsh 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. The judge allowed him to remain free until he is sentenced at the end of January.
Among other expenses, Walsh used some of the money to buy a private two-acre island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Yankeetown, Florida, prosecutors said. He also put a down payment on a luxury ski lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and paid off the 78-acre farm where he lives south of Gainesville
Last week Harding, who is facing six felony charges, petitioned the court to delay his own trial until May.
NEW: Rep. Joe Harding’s brother in law is Patrick Walsh, the Florida blimp magnate who in September pled guilty to, wait for it, stealing nearly $8 million in COVID-19 pandemic aid (very similar charges to Harding’s). https://t.co/zXGFQMBxbz https://t.co/nO8zeOI9Nl
— Peter Schorsch (@PeterSchorschFL) December 8, 2022