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

On a sultry day last September, Megan Stilley arrived at Lanier Farms, a large swine operation in ru [...]

When North Carolina lawmakers approved what one Republican described as a “historic” investment in r [...]

Lawmakers late last week released two new versions of a judicial redistricting bill, making these th [...]

An omnibus bill alleviating some of the headaches associated with North Carolina’s class size crisis [...]

The General Assembly’s latest mashup legislation is an example of government at its worst In the com [...]

The post Tied up in knots appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Every day brings new reports that Congress is interested in further whittling away at the programs c [...]

When Congress finally passed a continuing resolution last month allowing the government to re-open, [...]

Upcoming Events

Friday, Feb. 16

12:00 PM

Crucial Conversation – Prof. Peter Edelman discusses his new book, Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America

Prof. Edelman is coming to the Triangle to mark the 50th anniversary of Durham-based nonprofit MDC. His visit is the first of a series of MDC-sponsored events focused on ways that Southern leaders can work together to create an Infrastructure of Opportunity that shapes a South where all people thrive.”