Local News

3 Robeson Ex-Deputies Plead Guilty in 'Tarnished Badge'

Posted April 2, 2007 4:39 p.m. EDT

— Three former Robeson County deputies, including the former head of detectives, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to conspiracy charges brought as part of the state-federal Tarnished Badge investigation of corruption in the sheriff's force.

Lawrence Patterson, 51, who had been chief of detectives, and former patrol deputies Lester Floyd,48, and Herman Madden, 50, entered their please to conspiracy to pirate satellite television signals. The three were arrested March 23.

Their arrests brought the arrest total in Tarnished Badge to 14.

The convictions carry potential sentences of five years in prison, $250,000 fines and two years of probation. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle, before whom they entered their pleas, said he would take into account that they admitted the crimes.

The three also are required to testify against other defendants if prosecutors need them to do so.

Prosecutors had charged that from 2000 to 2003, the three used satellite TV cards that had been altered so receivers could get programming without the satellite company's being paid.

A plea hearing for the three men is set for Friday in Raleigh before U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle.

Operation Tarnished Badge began more than four years ago, and agents made it public in June 2006. More serious charges against other deputies have included kidnapping and money laundering.

Many of the deputies charged were involved with drug enforcement, and District Attorney Johnson Britt said in February that he has dismissed between 200 and 300 drug cases because they were tainted.