Local News

Former Franklin sheriff admits to taking drug unit money

Posted August 4, 2011 11:19 a.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2011 7:21 p.m. EDT

— Former Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green told state investigators that he took as much as $90,000 from a fund used by undercover deputies for drug cases, according to recently released search warrant.

Green, who hasn't been charged with any crime, resigned in January, one day before the State Bureau of Investigation confirmed it was investigating money missing from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

The SBI asked for a warrant to search records of credit-rating agency Equifax to examine all bank accounts used by Green and his wife, Jennifer Lynn Best Green.

According to the warrant application, Green received $232,000 for the sheriff's office drug unit between October 2007 and December 2010, but only $28,900 went to the unit for undercover drug buys.

SBI agents interviewed Green in June about the money that is unaccounted for, and he admitted to taking some of it while in a state of depression following the November 2008 death of his first wife, Tracy.

"I took money. I'm not going to lie to y'all," the warrant application quotes Green as saying. "I've been depressed. I wanted to stay home. I took money to buy things for the kids."

The documents don't elaborate on whether "the kids" are Green's children or other children.

Previously released documents show that Green received thousands of dollars in donations to the annual Shop with a Cop program for underprivileged children, and much of the money wasn't accounted for. Green reimbursed the sheriff's office for $6,000 of that money in March.

Green couldn't be reached Thursday for comment, but attorney John Williamson said Green is cooperating with the investigation. Williamson said Green continues to suffer from depression.

Franklin County in February released nearly 300 pages of emails and financial records dating to 2008 that detail numerous requests by Green for thousands of dollars that he said were to be used for undercover drug investigations.

According to the documents, Finance Director Chuck Murray said the sheriff told him that "he was working on a huge federal drug investigation that involved a county commissioner and two senators."

Green told the SBI that he also used some of the drug unit money to pay his mortgage and other bills.

"It's scary to think that maybe somebody we elected as our official would take our money," Louisburg resident Angela Brousard said.

"It's kind of bad. It's kind of rough. It shouldn't be that way," resident Paul Williamson said.

Even with Green's admission, an SBI agent said in the warrant application, more than $100,000 in unused drug unit money remains unaccounted for, and investigators are trying to track it down.