Former North Carolina House of Representative Pleads Guilty to Theft From a Non-Profit
GREENVILLE—United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced today that, STEPHEN A. LAROQUE, of Kinston, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to the theft of $150,000 from a federally-funded nonprofit organization in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666. LAROQUE also agreed to pay $300,000.00 in full restitution to East Carolina Development Company (“ECDC”), which is a nonprofit organization based in Kinston, North Carolina. ECDC was originally created to provide loans to small rural businesses using federal funds provided to ECDC by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Rural Development Division’s Intermediary Relending Program.
On April 17, 2013, a 12-Count Second Superseding Indictment was returned charging LAROQUE, among other things, with the theft of $300,000 from ECDC. According to the Indictment, LAROQUE accomplished the $300,000 theft through four disbursements made by ECDC under the guise of loans to LAROQUE’s wholly-owned company. A review of bank records established that such funds were funneled through LAROQUE’s wholly owned company and then used for his personal benefit, including his investment in an ice skating rink in Greenville and to help fund his purchase of rental property in Kinston.
On June 7, 2013, after a three-week trial, a jury found LAROQUE guilty on each of the twelve counts. Later, the court granted a new trial based on an issue regarding a juror’s Internet research during deliberations.
At sentencing scheduled for the court’s May 12, 2015 term in Greenville, LAROQUE faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment followed by up to three years of supervised release.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General-Investigations, Raleigh Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys, Dennis M. Duffy and Adam F. Hulbig prosecuted the case.