News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

FRIDAY - March 12, 2010

CARTERET COUNTY SHERIFF AND DEPUTY CHARGED

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that on March 8, 2010, Criminal Informations were filed in federal court charging RALPH THOMAS, 60, of Beaufort, North Carolina and Christopher Cozart, 35, of Morehead City, North Carolina, with conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

From 1997 to 2006, THOMAS, the Sheriff of Carteret County, and his deputy, COZART, misappropriated funds that were designated for the use of covert drug investigations. Using checks drawn on official accounts maintained by the sheriff’s office, portions of the cash would be kept for their own personal use and benefit. The value of the misappropriated funds exceeded $5,000.

Mr. Holding commented, “It is inappropriate for elected officials and those in positions of public trust to use funds for their own personal gain. This is a breach of the public trust. We continue to make these cases a top priority of this office and will continue to prosecute them.”

The Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigative Division uses its financial expertise to support federal investigations of public corruption. Violating the public trust cannot and will not be tolerated. We will work to ensure that those who hold these positions remain honest,” Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigative Division.

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods(PSN) which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigative Division. Assistant United States Attorney J. Frank Bradsher represented the government.

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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