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Former Bladen official pleads guilty to fraud

Posted October 9, 2012

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— A former Bladen County official pleaded guilty Monday to fraud in connection with the misuse of county funds, authorities said.

Mitchell Gerald Byrd, 52, of 1340 River Road in White Oak, pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining property by false pretense. He was sentenced to 10 to 12 months in prison, which was suspended to 24 months on probation, and agreed to pay $6,000 in restitution to the county.

While serving as fire marshal and director of Emergency Management Services, Byrd would buy items that he said the county needed and would later return them for store credit, which he used to buy gifts or rewards for other county employees, authorities said. The gifts included clothing, jewelry and artwork.

County officials initially questioned Byrd about the purchases in 2007, and the issue was referred to the State Bureau of Investigation two years later. Byrd was indicted on 25 charges a year ago.

As part of the plea deal, the Bladen County Sheriff's Office will auction off the gifts that were seized in the investigation, with the proceeds going to local public schools, authorities said.

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  • dwr1964 Oct 10, 2012

    Just another story about a politician who is dishonest. Where is the news part of the story?

  • whatelseisnew Oct 10, 2012

    "As part of the plea deal, the Bladen County Sheriff's Office will auction off the gifts that were seized in the investigation, with the proceeds going to local public schools, authorities said."

    Why are the proceeds going to the PUBLIC schools? The proceeds should be put into the cost of the investigation and courts.

  • puzzled Oct 10, 2012

    So, what are the consequences for stealing from the county? Sorry, but I don't see 2 years probation as a consequence. May be a little inconvenience, but no consequence. So, why would any other thief think twice about stealing from them. A precedent has been set! Deal with all alike, so the next theif can get away with probation!!! No wonder many, many people have become thieves today.