RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal grand jury handed down indictments against former First District Rep. Frank Ballance and his son Thursday afternoon on charges related to an investigation into the John A. Hyman Memorial Youth Foundation, Inc.
Frank Ballance, 62, of Warrenton, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, mail fraud of money and money laundering. The charge is a felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.
"Good people do some things that are wrong occassionally and take some missteps," said Joe Cheshire, Ballance's attorney. "He's embarrassed and apologetic and he's just deeply hurt."
Ballance's son, Garey, 34, of Norlina, is charged with failure to file his federal income tax for the year 2000. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison. Garey Ballance is a district court judge.
Frank Ballance suddenly resigned from Congress in June, citing health problems. He also cited stress from the ongoing federal investigation in the Hyman Foundation, the substance abuse counseling center he founded in Warrenton.
According to the federal indictment, Ballance helped funnel more than $2 million of taxpayer money into the foundation. Federal prosecutors allege Ballance defrauded the state by illegally directing at least $100,000 of the money to benefit himself, his friends, and family violating conflict of interest regulations.
Investigators say taxpayer money paid personal legal fees and helped out a daycare owned by Ballance's mother. They also say the former Congressman funneled $20,000 of Hyman Foundation grant money to his son. That money went to buy a Lincoln Navigator.
Frank Ballance is expected to turn himself in Friday. He faces a maximum of five years in prison. Cheshire said he doubts there will be a trial, but most likely a plea deal.