Uncategorized

LaRoque in federal court this morning on theft charges

Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque is expected to appear in a federal courtroom this morning, his first hearing to answer to charges that he stole federally-sourced funds from two economic development non-profits he ran.

He’s scheduled to appear in court at 10 a.m., at the federal courthouse in Raleigh, according to court records.

LaRoque, a Kinston Republican who up until recently served in a leadership role in the state legislature, stands accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the East Carolina Development Company and Piedmont Development Company. He resigned from his seat in the House of Representatives following the July indictment on eight charges related to the mismanagement of his non-profits by a federal grand jury.

The non-profits, both funded by LaRoque, were part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program intended to combat poverty by allowing public charities to offer loans to struggling small business that couldn’t get loans from commercial banks.

But instead of doing that, federal prosecutors believe that LaRoque used the federal dollars to help finance his personal life, including buying reproduction Faberge eggs for his wife, a Greenville ice-skating rink, a car and thousands of dollars. (Click here to read our story about the July indictment.)

LaRoque was the subject of an N.C. Policy Watch investigation “Public Money, Personal Gains,” published in August 2011 that found LaRoque earned high salaries while his brother and wife served in key roles as the non-profit’s board of directors. The investigation found USDA’s oversight of LaRoque’s non-profits was lacking.

Over the weekend, the News & Observer published an article about an internal USDA report that found the federal agency’s North Carolina office had been lax in its oversight of the lending program LaRoque was a part of. The state reported $34.6 million in lost federal loans, according to the internal report obtained by the N&O.

We’ll be at this morning’s hearing, so check back with N.C. Policy Watch to find out what happened at this morning’s court hearing.

Check Also

UNC Board of Governors face protest, chooses new board chair and interim president

It was a busy day at the final ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

The UNC Board of Governors is holding its last meeting of 2017 Friday, where the latest of its many [...]

Just south of Candler off the Pisgah Highway is a lovely piece of property on Little Piney Mountain [...]

Veteran North Carolina education policy expert Kris Nordstrom has authored a new and vitally importa [...]

When Joni Robbins, a section chief in the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, closes bidding next [...]

“All speech is free, but some speech is more free than others.” This seems to be the motto of the cu [...]

Trumpists prepare to raze another vital common good law It’s hard to keep up these days with the flo [...]

The post That’s how ‘Humbug’ is done appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

The solid citizens of Johnston County, N.C. – in a fateful quirk of geography – for several years ha [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more