Former state house member makes federal court appearance


GREENVILLE, Pitt County - Former NC General Assembly member Stephen LaRoque of Kinston appeared in federal court this morning with his attorneys looking to receive credit for money he still owes in restitution.

The compensation he is seeking is $122,000. The original restitution he owed totaled $300,000.

LaRoque was released from prison in May after serving one year and nine months of a two year sentence for pleading guilty to aiding and abetting theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. He pleaded guilty to stealing $150,000 in taxpayer money from a non-profit he operated in Kinston for his personal benefit. Prosecutors said he took $2.7 million.

LaRoque resigned his seat in the state House when he was indicted in 2012. He said that he only took money owed to him in deferred salary that he planned to repay after getting an inheritance.

In court today, the defendant asked the judge to consider compensation coming from two places -- East Carolina Development Corporation and USDA. LaRoque worked for ECDC and USDA and claims that they withheld his payment, totaling $67,150. USDA argued that there are no funds available from ECDC to pay LaRoque despite the work he completed amounting to the figure.

In the past, LaRoque was given 120 days to sell three different properties to come up with restitution money. He did not sell those properties and the state assigned Rogers Reality to make the sale. LaRoque argued that government supplied appraisals of these properties equaled $219,000, but the government only received $120,915.20.

LaRoque is now looking to be credited the difference to be applied toward restitution. The judge did not make a ruling on this matter, but said there would be a decision in the next two weeks.

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