Local News

Fraud Charges Dropped Against Ex-Official's Husband

Posted September 21, 2007 4:18 p.m. EDT

— Criminal charges against the husband of a former federal small-business loan program director were dropped Friday.

James Leroy Bennett II, 42, of Dangerfield Drive in Raleigh, had been charged with obtaining property by false pretense in the 6-year-old case. Prosecutors said they didn't have enough evidence to pursue the case against him.

Bennett's wife, Anita Bennett, had been contracted by Durham in 1999 to run the federal loan program, which was designed to encourage small businesses to open in low-income areas. She was fired from her job in 2001.

She was charged last year after authorities said she issued more than $800,000 in loans to nonexistent companies. Investigators said some of the money from the bogus loans was funneled back to her.

She was recently indicted on an additional 21 counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

Charges also are pending against her sister, Kathy Marie Fenner, 43, of Sunshine Road in Burgaw, in the case.