Local News

Former Congressman Expected to be Sentenced On Federal Charges

Posted October 11, 2005
Updated November 19, 2007

— Former First District congressman and state lawmaker Frank Ballance built a reputation for working political deals and advocating for the poor and disadvantaged. After misusing taxpayer money, he now goes from a position of public trust and power to a likely prison term.

Attorney Joe Cheshire represents Ballance, who admitted he defrauded taxpayers through his non-profit drug treatment center in Warrenton.

"This is one of the saddest, most tragic situations in that regard that I've seen in 32 years of practicing law," Cheshire said.

As a state lawmaker, Ballance allegedly funneled more than $2 million in state funds to his organization, the Hyman Foundation, and used more than $100,000 of it for personal and family use. Authorities said he paid his legal bills, directed money to his mother's day care, and gave $20,000 to his son, Garey Ballance, for a Lincoln Navigator.

"[He] got caught up in handling the money and it caused him some legal problems," said Rep. Edd Nye, D-Bladen County.

Once those problems surfaced, Ballance's former colleagues voted to tighten rules regarding non-profit organizations and state money.

On Wednesday, Ballance, who faces up to five years in prison, is expected to stand before a federal judge to be sentenced.

"Frank has taken a huge fall and his legacy won't be what it ought to be," Cheshire said.

His son, a Warren County judge, will also be sentenced on a misdemeanor count of tax evasion. One question for him is whether he will keep his job as a judge. Because he will be sentenced for a misdemeanor charge, state law says he can stay on the bench.

Sentencing is expected to take place at the federal courthouse in Elizabeth City.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all