Former NC lawmaker enters guilty plea to federal charge

GREENVILLE, NC (AP) — A former North Carolina lawmaker originally convicted on federal charges involving theft and diverting funds and facing a retrial next month has pleaded guilty to a single count.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker announced Monday that former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque pleaded guilty to the theft of $150,000 from a federally funded rural development program he founded. In addition, LaRoque was ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to East Carolina Development Co.

LaRoque was convicted in June 2013, but was granted a new trial after it was learned one juror had visited an Internal Revenue Service web site during the trial to research tax laws at issue in the case. LaRoque’s retrial was scheduled for February.

Sentencing is scheduled for May. LaRoque faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

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