Update: Former lawmaker Stephen Laroque now in prison

Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque holds his step-grandson less than a day before heading to federal prison.

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Former state representative Stephen LaRoque is now at the Federal Prison in Butner, according to a federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman.

The spokesman told WNCT that LaRoque self-reported on Tuesday and no other details were being released.

LaRoque proclaimed his innocence Monday, less than a day before he was scheduled to report.

LaRoque pleaded guilty in July to “aiding and abetting theft” for directing $300,000 from a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture program for small business development to friends and family.

He was sentenced to 24 months in prison, but he said part of that time will be spent either in home confinement or at a halfway house.

LaRoque maintained his innocence.

“I never gave anyone in my family a loan!” LaRoque said. “Did I loan money to people in my family who were friends? Sure I did, but go to any banker. They’ll tell you they loan money to people that they’re friends with.”

He said the $300,000 was a loan to himself for deferred salary over the years. He paid back $200,000 but he said he was advised by his auditor to keep $100,000 as part of his salary.

He acknowledged giving loans designated for risky borrowers to people he knew in the General Assembly, but he said those people qualified for the loans.

He also accused Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Duffy of corruption, lying to jurors and threatening witnesses.

U.S. Attorney’ Thomas Walker responded with the following statement:

Mr. LaRoque, advised by a competent team of retained attorneys, pled guilty to theft of government property and agreed to make restitution in the amount of $300,000.  At sentencing, he was given an opportunity to personally address the judge in open court to say anything he wished relevant to his possible sentence.  He chose to say nothing.  His recent allegations are absurd.  We are reviewing Mr. LaRoque’s lengthy statement to see if a fuller response is necessary.

LaRoque said he will spend most of his time in prison thinking about his future since he’ll have no job once he gets out of prison.

“I’ve been told to write a book, and so I may end up writing a book,” LaRoque said. “I’m going to reflect on what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. I’ve got to find another way to earn a living.”

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