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Press Release

Current and Former Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies Charged with 12 Counts of Fraud in Bid Rigging Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina
Former Deputy Also Charged with Drug Conspiracy and Lying to FBI

RALEIGH, N.C. – A federal grand jury returned an Indictment on August 17, 2023, against one current and one former Wayne County Sheriff’s deputy.

According to the Indictment, Michael Kenneth Cox, age 48, and Christopher C. Worth, age 52, were each indicted on 12 separate fraud charges stemming from an alleged scheme undertaken by Worth and Cox to steer contracts for upfits of Wayne County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) vehicles to a business owned by Cox and employing Worth, regardless of whether Cox’s company provided such work at the lowest price as required by the Wayne County procurement requirements.  Cox was employed by the WCSO from 1996 until he retired as the head of the Drug Unit in 2018. Worth joined the WCSO in 1993 and currently serves as a Major overseeing all of WCSO criminal enforcement sections and WCSO’s Support Services.

In addition to the fraud charges, Cox was indicted for conspiring with multiple drug traffickers to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and oxycodone and two counts of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“Law enforcement officers take an oath to protect and serve our communities by upholding the rule of law,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “Our office will continue to hold accountable those who violate the public trust and abuse their position for personal gain.”

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis Duffy and Nick Hartigan are prosecuting the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of 

the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:23-CR-260.

An indictment is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.



Updated August 30, 2023

Public Corruption
Drug Trafficking