Local News

Ex- Carteret sheriff gets prison time for embezzlement

Posted October 13, 2010

— Former Carteret County Sheriff Ralph Thomas was sentenced Wednesday to 14 months in prison for stealing money from a fund his detectives used for undercover drug operations.

Thomas, 60, of Beaufort, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to misappropriate county funds. He was sheriff of Carteret County from 1986 to 2006.

Federal prosecutors said at least $5,000 was withdrawn between 1997 and 2006 from official accounts maintained by the sheriff's office. They said Thomas ordered his deputies to engage in a scheme that allowed him to take money.

In addition to his prison sentence, Thomas was ordered to pay $84,880 in restitution.


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  • michaelclay Oct 14, 2010

    Jenny8, that's true if it's a state crime but on the federal level ususlly everyone gets time.

  • jayhurst Oct 14, 2010

    Actually, in federal court, first-time offenders of all stripes are as likely (or moreso) to get prison than probation. Fourteen months is a short sentence in federal court, but maybe (probably?) more than would be given in a State court. And yes, an ex-sheriff will go into general prison population, unless there is some particular threat, or he "checks in" to the hole (disciplinary segregation, yes, but the inmate gets off the mainline).

    If this is just embezzlement without violence, though, this fellow may be headed to a prison camp. It's no "Club Fed" - there is no such thing - but it's not the hardcore facilities we see on television.

  • notagain1903 Oct 14, 2010

    I just love all these stories of the great upstanding police officers in the state. Where are all those LEO supporters now to put a spin on this????? "He was a good man just needed some money to get back on his feet" Have fun in your cell CRIMINAL!!!!

  • Jenny8 Oct 14, 2010

    Journey985, 14 months for a first time offender is virtually unheard of.

    Nobody goes to jail for a first time offender on a non violent crime, except law enforcement and some politicians, the public gets a slap on the wrist if even that.

  • Juncyard Oct 13, 2010

    When a LEO breaks the law, penalties should be double....

  • just trying Oct 13, 2010

    He won't go into general population no matter where he's at. Believe it or not they take prisoner safety extremely seriously. Probably more seriously then the prisoners themselves do.

  • Tarheelfan13 Oct 13, 2010

    "This guy will get a special cell, and all the comforts of home being an ex LEO he can not go to the general pop."

    Actually, federal prisoners can be imprisoned anywhere in the United States. So there is a huge chance that no one will know that he is ex LEO anyway. Not to mention that the office of sheriff is really a nobody of sorts in the big scheme of things to the federal government anyway. If ex governors and other high office holders at federal/state level have been imprisoned by the feds before than what is an ex sheriff to the feds?

  • Adelinthe Oct 13, 2010


    Do the crime, do the time, no matter who you are.

    Praying for his family.

    God belss.


  • Journey985 Oct 13, 2010

    What a crock, 14 months for Grand larceny? What a disgrace to LEO's everywhere!! Why have the deputies bee charged as accessories?

  • Sherlock Oct 13, 2010

    This guy will get a special cell, and all the comforts of home being an ex LEO he can not go to the general pop.