Uncategorized

Former state Rep. LaRoque gets new trial date

Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque will wait until February for a jury trial on charges of stealing $300,000 from two federally-funded economic development groups he ran.

LaRoque-PC

Former N.C. Rep. LaRoque

LaRoque, a Kinston Republican, was scheduled for an October trial in a federal criminal courtroom in Greenville. The trial was pushed back to Feb. 2 because of delays in getting transcripts from a previous trial, according to an order filed in federal court this week.

A jury had convicted LaRoque in June 2013 of a dozen charges related to the theft, but U.S. Senior District Court Judge Malcolm Howard set aside those verdicts and ordered a new trial after finding out a juror in the case did home Internet research, a violation of court rules.

LaRoque, a former co-chair of the powerful House Rules committee and a self-declared “right hand man” for N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, has maintained he is innocent of any criminal wrongdoing, and said he was owed the money federal prosecutors contend he stole.

He resigned from the state legislature in 2012, after an indictment of federal charges accusing him of taking $300,000 from two federally-funded nonprofits he ran and using the money to buy cars, a Greenville skating rink, expensive jewelry and replica Faberge eggs for his wife.

The federal investigation began after N.C. Policy Watch published a 2011 investigation into LaRoque’s non-profit work, which found that he was paid generous salaries as high as $195,000 a year to run organizations that for years only had one or no other employees. The boards of his non-profit were also stacked with immediate family members and he signed off on giving low-interest loans of federally-sourced money to close business and political associates.

4 Comments

  1. gina

    July 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I would get the facts straight in your reporting

  2. david esmay

    July 24, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Care to elaborate Gina? Laroque was found guilty, he stole money from the USDA. That’s about as straight forward as it gets.

  3. David

    July 24, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Another trial–another chance for Laroque to grease the palms. Hope he implicates Tillis in his tax-supported “non-profits.”

  4. Pertains!

    July 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    They would deny and cover up any crime in order to try to remain in control.
    It had been 20 years since NC voted for a Republican for Governor and I am not positive but I believe Nov 6, 2012 was the first time they won Governor, House and Senate…….

    We know why now and it will take at least 20 years to repair/undo all the bizarre laws they have enacted.