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

When Gov. Roy Cooper visits Wilmington on Monday, it's unlikely that he will be greeted by the [...]

When Gov. Roy Cooper signed the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention or STOP Act into law last month, [...]

Support for needy districts and key positions within North Carolina’s top public school agency may b [...]

Wilmington is bustling this summer. Downtown, horse-drawn carriages take tourists along the riverfro [...]

It’s not an original thought to point out that the Trump Administration is a larger version of what [...]

Why this is not “business as usual” and should not be condoned Sometimes all one can do is stand and [...]

5.0---percentage of overall state spending in the 2017-2018 budget passed by the General Assembly as [...]

The post A legislative addiction appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

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