FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday - August 1, 2006
RALEIGH - Acting United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that MICHAEL P. DECKER, SR., pled guilty in federal court in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday, August 1, 2006, pursuant to a plea agreement. U. S. District Judge James C. Dever, III accepted DECKER’S plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, honest services mail fraud, and money laundering.
DECKER, 61, of Walkertown, North Carolina, could receive a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. His actual sentence will be determined by the court using the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are advisory. Sentencing has been set for November 1, 2006.
As part of his plea agreement, DECKER agreed to waive Indictment by a federal grand jury. The criminal investigation that resulted in DECKER’S conviction has been ongoing for over a year.
According to the Criminal Information, after the results of the general election of November 2002 left the North Carolina House of Representatives with 61 Republican members and 59 Democratic members, DECKER solicited and agreed to accept $50,000 and other things of value in return for switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party and supporting a particular candidate for Speaker of the House. On January 24, 2003, DECKER changed his party registration from Republican to Democrat, and publicly announced the switch. Later in 2003, DECKER accepted an envelope containing about $38,000 in checks and $12,000 in cash in return for switching parties and supporting a particular candidate for Speaker of the House.
The Criminal Information does not allege wrongdoing by any person other than DECKER.
The criminal investigation is being conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation Division, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service, in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Office of Wake County District Attorney C. Colon Willoughby, Jr. Acting First Assistant U. S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce and Assistant U. S. Attorney Dennis M. Duffy are prosecuting the case for the United States.
Acting United States Attorney Holding said, “This kind of public corruption undermines our democracy and the legitimacy of legislative bodies. The Department of Justice will continue to tenaciously prosecute public corruption. Public officials must be held accountable when they take official action for private financial gain.”
Special Agent in Charge Nathan Thomas Gray of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Field Office, stated: “The investigative pursuit of corrupt public officials is the number one investigative priority within the FBI’s criminal programs. All available resources of the FBI will be utilized in bringing those to justice that violate the public’s trust.”
Charles E. Hunter, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division stated: “Public corruption at any level cannot be tolerated. Those who violate the public’s trust for any reason will be vigorously pursued by IRS-CI.”
Attorney General Roy Cooper stated: “The bribery and fraud alleged in today’s guilty plea undercut the foundation of our representative government. The allegations of wrongdoing are troubling, and our SBI agents have done a thorough job examining every aspect of this case. We will continue to investigate these and other related matters with the U. S. Attorney and the Wake County District Attorney.”
North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Director Robin Pendergraft said: “This ongoing investigation shows outstanding cooperation among federal and state agencies. The SBI will continue to work diligently to bring to justice those who violate the public trust.”
The investigation is continuing.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.