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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday - September 22, 2004

WILMINGTON - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that LEON OXENDINE was convicted in federal court in Wilmington on Wednesday, September 22, 2004, on charges of witness tampering, making a false statement to a federal law enforcement agency, and making false statements to a federal grand jury. Following a seven-day jury trial, he was found guilty as charged. OXENDINE, 51, of Lumberton, N. C., was taken into custody by the U. S. Marshals Service immediately following the return of the jury's verdict.

OXENDINE, a Lieutenant in the Lumberton Police Department, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Greenville on April 8, 2004. A superseding indictment was filed on July 12, 2004.

The seven-count indictment charged OXENDINE with tampering with a witness (maximum sentence: 10 years imprisonment, three years supervised release, and $250,000 fine); making a false statement to the FBI (maximum sentence: five years imprisonment, three years supervised release, and $250,000 fine); and five counts of making false declarations before a federal grand jury (maximum sentence: five years imprisonment, three years supervised release, and $250,000 fine, per count).

The actual sentence will be determined in accordance with the United States Sentencing Guidelines and without parole. Senior U. S. District Judge James C. Fox has scheduled OXENDINE's sentencing for January 18, 2005 in Wilmington.

U. S. Attorney Whitney said, "Public corruption at any level is intolerable, and it is particularly egregious when it involves a sworn law enforcement officer."

Investigation of the case was conducted by the N. C. State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Secret Service. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Eric Evenson and Winnie J. Reaves are prosecuting the case for the United States.

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News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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