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No criminal charges filed against former Tarboro manager

Posted September 9, 2015

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— Authorities say no criminal charges will be filed against a former Tarboro town manager accused of using town money on questionable purchases.

Sam Noble, who retired in 2011 as town manager, rang up about $101,000 on such items as shirts, coolers, handguns, gun holsters, life vests, flashlights, helmets, wetsuits, marine equipment and jackets, according to a state audit released last year.

Most of the items were charged to the budgets of various town departments although they didn't need the items, the audit stated. Also, many items were shipped to his home address, but he returned them to the town after his retirement.

Noble also received about $92,000 in reimbursements over a five-year period for trips and meals that auditors deemed questionable or unnecessary. Some of the meals were with Town Council members after council meetings.

Without Town Council approval, he also converted his town-purchased life insurance policy to universal life coverage, upped the death benefit and increased the annual premiums, which also increased the cash value of the policy, according to the audit. He billed the town to reimburse him for the changes, which auditors determined led to more than $87,000 in untaxed benefits because the insurance policy was part of his compensation package.

Authorities said that "while the conduct may not demonstrate proper governance and constitutes failure to follow best accounting practices," they could find no evidence of criminal conduct and wouldn't pursue charges against Noble.

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