FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday - September 4, 2003
RALEIGH - Frank D. Whitney, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announced today the indictment of MEG SCOTT PHIPPS, 47, of Haw River, N. C., on various charges related to the investigation of the Meg Scott Phipps Campaign 2000 for Commissioner of Agriculture, and subsequent events during her tenure in that position. A federal grand jury sitting here returned the 28-count indictment today.
PHIPPS is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States; four counts of using the mails in a scheme and artifice to deprive others of the right of honest services; five counts of using wire communications in a scheme and artifice to deprive others of the right of honest services; six counts of using the mails in a scheme and artifice to defraud others of money; four counts of using wire communications to defraud others of money; four counts of extortion under color of official right; one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds; one count of obstruction of justice; one count of witness tampering by corrupt persuasion; and one count of witness tampering by misleading conduct. (Penalty sheet attached.)
The indictment is the third one returned by the federal grand jury investigating this matter. The investigation has been ongoing for approximately 14 months and has been conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the IRS-Criminal Investigation, in conjunction with the United States Attorney's Office and the office of Wake County District Attorney C. Colon Willoughby, Jr. The Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the U. S. Department of Justice has consulted in the case. Assistant U. S. Attorney Dennis M. Duffy and Executive Assistant U. S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce are handling the case for the government.
U. S. Attorney Whitney stated, "The federal and state agencies conducting this investigation have worked tirelessly and cooperatively. The team is now focused on preparing for the Michael Blanton trial, which is scheduled for October 6, 2003. This office and the U. S. Department of Justice remain committed to investigating all credible allegations of public corruption. This particular investigation is continuing."
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A trial date has not been scheduled.
Attached: Penalty Sheet [pdf, 46KB]
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.