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Family of Former U.S. Rep. Makes Public Plea for an Appeal

Posted November 19, 2007

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— The family of former North Carolina Congressman Frank Ballance made a public plea Monday for his appeal to be heard.

Ballance pleaded guilty in 2005 to federal charges involving mail fraud and money laundering. The charges stemmed from accusations he funneled $2.3 million of state money from a non-profit organization he operated to help underprivileged people fight drug and alcohol abuse. He now claims he was coerced into that plea.

“We do not feel that he is guilty of any crime,” said his son, Garey Ballance, a former district court judge who served eight months in prison for failing to file a federal income tax return.

Authorities said Frank Ballance used $100,000 personally or gave the cash to family members. Two years later, his family said that is untrue.

“I didn’t want Frank going to jail for me saying I had money, money that he gave me that I didn’t have, cause he didn’t give me that much money,” said his mother, Alice Ballance.

His family also said Ballance gave his mother money for a grant program. Ballance has served nearly two years of his four-year federal prison sentence. A year ago, he filed an appeal to get out of prison.

Family members said that when Ballance made his plea deal he faced intense heat from prosecutors that he was told his son and mother would also face jail time if he did not plead guilty.

Former federal prosecutor Kieran Shanahan said it is not unusual to see an appeal such as this come after a guilty plea.

"It's sort of a desperate act from a guy who has been convicted, a disgraced congressman, sitting in a jail cell,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan also said Ballance was asked specifically by a judge if he was being forced into making his plea, and he said "no."

Ballance's family said attorneys advised the former congressman to take the plea. They believe it was a mistake, and they intend to keep fighting until Ballance is out of prison.

The U.S. Attorney's Office had no direct comment on the case.

34 Comments

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  • Iron Man Nov 21, 2007

    Family members who benefited from the embezzled funds are feeling guilty for their participation. They ought to be happy that the plea deal prevented them from going to jail.

  • humbleblaklady Nov 20, 2007

    Sorry! Many churches or ministers, preachers, priest, bishops, fathers, etc.--not all; should be included in the rip off group. Amen?

  • humbleblaklady Nov 20, 2007

    GWALLY, are you including "churches" in that group? Seems to me like that's an even bigger rip off group--of course along with politicians and oil execs.

  • GWALLY Nov 20, 2007

    His convicted son says......"We do not feel that he is guilty of any crime,” said his son, Garey Ballance, a former district court judge who served eight months in prison for failing to file a federal income tax return. ............well not the TRUTH has been told??????? What a joke!!!!!!

    I tell you folks......keep a sharp eye on these non profits, they are a ripoff of federal and state tax money!!!!!! A lot of the directors and owners are related and they "own" multiple "non profits", working the system. There is all kinds of foo foo with the tax money going on! Just check out all the Mercedes, Cadillacs and BMW's these "non profit" owners drive!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • yruatwit Nov 20, 2007

    The whole family (including the family pet) should be serving time in prison. What a bunch of unethical, immoral, irresponsible, no integrity, shallow, manipulative, degenerate, low-class, self-serving, fraudulent, thugish gangsters.

  • humbleblaklady Nov 20, 2007

    Sometimes you simply wonder where the "nerve" comes from in these situations? Or are people like the Ballance family just "publicity starved" individuals in need of the cameras and a spotlight? First, to be given ONLY four years; and for his son to be "given" only 8 months is either a "gift from God", or an incredibly incompetent Judge, judicial system or a combination of both. But then to "seek" the limelight "again", it's like O.J. getting away with murder--THEN not going home and sitting down for the rest of his life and hiding from the public. WHY would you want to attract attention? You've HAD YOUR MOMENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT; you abused it, misused it and cheated. Now go home and be QUIET! The ONLY thing another trial would do--is hopefully bring MORE TIME! I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR THOSE WHO PREY ON THE CONDITIONS AND SUFFERING OF POOR PEOPLE OR THE LESS FORTUNATE!

  • ghimmy47 Nov 20, 2007

    awww ... the family of thieves wants a break .. right

  • PatMcGroine Nov 20, 2007

    Maybe Frank's son Garey should try to re-open the case. Oh, that's right, Garey's law license has been suspended by the bar for ... the same series of crimes that got his Dad prison time!

    This story is a joke. I can't believe there can be many North Carolinians ready to jump to the defense of an admitted-criminal Congressman or his admitted-criminal judge son.

    The Ballance family clearly has no shame.

  • humbleblaklady Nov 19, 2007

    "I never want 1 cent to go to someone who does not earn it. And for that reason I will always be a conservative. If you can't earn your keep in this country, move to Korea or Cuba where everyone gets the same amount whether they work for it or not...
    shakennotstirred. If that is the definition of a "Conservative", how do you explain the $9 trillion National Debt during this Administrations 7 year tenure? And speaking of "earning or working for your money"; what has big oil companies and their top execs done to EARN over $100 billion (after expenses, taxes, salaries, etc) PROFIT while we are struggling to pay their high prices at the pump? "LEFT WING, RIGHT WING" THEY'RE ALL ATTACHED TO THE SAME BIRD WHO FLIES OVER AND DEPOSITS WASTE ON YOU AND ME! Conservatism is nothing but a smoke screen label--doesn't mean JACK! Politicians are in it for themselves. Not for you, me or country. Yet, we continue to fight over which one is in our corner--looking out for the little guy. BULL!

  • humbleblaklady Nov 19, 2007

    weasleyes, your point?

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