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Former governor's aide heads to federal prison in Florida

Sometimes people will plead guilty to a crime that they have been accused of in an effort to avoid the publicity and the possible negative consequences that can arise from a trial. When this is the case, it is important to remember that a guilty plea does not always mean that the person committed the crime they were accused of.

A top aide to Governor Mike Easley in North Carolina is heading to federal prison in Pensacola, Florida. He will serve a one year and one day sentence there in exchange for a guilty plea in connection with charges that he was facing last year. The 39-year-old man had been facing 57 public corruption-related charges. These charges included money laundering, bribery and extortion. The guilty plea entered was for tax evasion.

Federal prosecutors accuse him of taking bribes in exchange for favors with state regulators. The aide was also allegedly involved in giving jobs to people in exchange for gifts.

According to the federal investigation, the political figure apparently failed to report $30,000 on an investment made back in 2005. In that case, investigators believe that he was able to make the large return on an investment in exchange for procuring special permits for a coastal real estate development project. Apparently, the aide and his wife were also able to purchase a waterfront lot at a below market rate in exchange for procuring permits for the project.

In addition to his prison sentence he will be required to pay a $30,000 fine plus back taxes and penalties.

Source: wral.com, "Ex-Easley aide headed to federal prison," Randall Kerr, 26 July 2011