Florida blimp magnate pleads guilty to stealing nearly $8M in U.S. pandemic aid

An international blimp magnate in north-central Florida 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.

Executive 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.

Among other expenses, Walsh used some of

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