FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY - October 13, 2010
FORMER CARTERET COUNTY SHERIFF SENTENCED
NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that today Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced former Carteret Sheriff for a conspiracy to misappropriate county funds. RALPH THOMAS, 60, of Beaufort, North Carolina, received 14 months’ imprisonment followed by three years’ supervised release. The Court also imposed restitution in the amount of $84,880.00.
On April 29, 2010, a Superseding Criminal Information was filed charging THOMAS. On May 3, 2010, THOMAS pled guilty to conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
From 1997 to 2006, THOMAS, then Sheriff of Carteret County, stole funds that were designated for the use of covert drug investigations. After drug funds were cashed, THOMAS would take a portion of the funds (often as much as 25-50% for his own use).
Mr. Holding commented, “It is regrettable when those who are sworn to uphold the law themselves break it. It is then that this office must become involved in order to protect the public from those who abuse its trust.”
“This behavior, on the part of those entrusted to safeguard the public, is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. No corrupt public servant is exempt from IRS-Criminal Investigation scrutiny," stated Special Agent in Charge, Jeannine A. Hammett Charlotte Field Office.
“Law enforcement across North Carolina is working together to catch those who abuse the public’s trust for their own gain.Our SBI agents will continue to work with federal partners to fight public corruption,” stated Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigative Division, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys J. Frank Bradsher and David Bragdon handled the case for the United States.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.