Former chief deputy Nassau County executive sentenced to 18 months in prison for obstructing justice


Date: December 7, 2021


Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Richard "Rob" Walker, the former chief deputy county executive under former Nassau County executive Edward Mangano, was sentenced by United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack to 18 months in prison for obstruction of justice. The Court also ordered Walker to pay $5,000 in forfeiture, imposed a $5,500 fine and perform 2,000 hours of community service as part of his sentence. Walker pleaded guilty to the charge in May 2019.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the sentence.

"While occupying an important position of public trust, Walker accepted illicit payments from a contractor, encouraged the contractor to commit perjury before a federal grand jury, and lied to the FBI to cover up his crimes," stated United States Attorney Peace. "This Office will prosecute corrupt officials like Walker who seek to obstruct justice and abuse the public trust." Mr. Peace also expressed his thanks to Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation for its help during the investigation.

"Public officials have a great responsibility to uphold the public's trust and make legal and ethical decisions that serve to benefit their communities. Rob Walker did just the opposite when he accepted illicit payments from a contractor working for Nassau County and later attempted to cover his tracks and change his story once he realized the FBI was onto him. As we've said in the past, there's no way to undo what's already been done—a lesson that's surely been reinforced today," stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.

In 2014, Walker, who was then the chief deputy Nassau County executive, accepted a $5,000 cash payment from a contractor who was performing work pursuant to a contract for Nassau County. In 2017, Walker learned that the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York and the FBI had opened a grand jury investigation of potential corruption in Nassau County government, including the circumstances surrounding the $5,000 payment made by the contractor to the defendant. Walker spoke to the contractor on several occasions and attempted to persuade him to conceal the existence of the $5,000 payment from the grand jury, or to provide a false explanation to the grand jury concerning the transaction, for example, saying it was repayment of a loan. Walker arranged to meet the contractor in a park in Hicksville, New York, and at that meeting, gave the contractor an envelope containing $5,000 in an effort to make it appear as if the payment Walker accepted "never happened." Later, when he was interviewed by the FBI concerning the payment, Walker denied ever having received any cash payments from the contractor.

As recounted in consensually recorded conversations, Walker repeatedly claimed that the payment did not have to be disclosed to the grand jury if he returned it to the contractor. On one occasion, Walker said, "you [the contractor] only borrowed it and I gave it back to you…there was never a quid pro quo," and if he returned the money, "it doesn't exist…wouldn't you rather it not existing?"

In another recorded conversation, Walker untruthfully stated, "[j]ust be honest. I borrowed the money from you. I gave it back to you…My mother-in-law was sick…it's over." During the exchange, which was recorded by law enforcement, Walker stated, "it [the money] doesn't exist. That's it." When the contractor asked if he is "not saying a word [to the grand jury]?" Walker confirmed, "[n]ope, doesn't exist."

The government's case is being handled by the Office's Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Artie McConnell and Catherine M. Mirabile are in charge of the prosecution.