Greenville, N.C. — A federal jury on Friday found former Rep. Stephen LaRoque guilty of fraud and misappropriation of funds.
The Kinston Republican administered a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan program for small-business development, but prosecutors say he directed the loan money to friends and family and might have used some for campaign expenses. They said he also lied on USDA documents and filed false tax returns.
LaRoque told jurors Tuesday that those loans were more like advances on money owed to him by his companies because often he didn't take all of his required salaries.
The jury convicted him on four counts each of misuse of funds, money laundering and fraud. He will be sentenced later.
“We always thought that this case was about stealing, pure and simple. The jury has now agreed," U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker said in a statement.
LaRoque resigned his House seat last summer under pressure after his indictment.