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Ex-aide to former NC governor starts prison time

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A top aide to North Carolina's former governor is heading to Florida to begin serving a yearlong sentence for federal income tax evasion.

WRAL-TV reports that 39-year-old Ruffin Poole is to begin his one-year and one-day sentence Tuesday in Pensacola, FL.

Poole pleaded guilty last year shortly before his trial was to begin on 57 public corruption-related charges, including extortion, bribery and money laundering.

The charge stemmed from a $30,000 coastal investment Poole made and failed to report in 2005. It was disclosed during a two-year federal investigation into former Gov. Michael Easley's dealings with friends and campaign contributors while in office.

Authorities said Poole was known among Easley's top contributors as "Little Governor" because he was the person who resolved problems reported by donors.

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