RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A former North Carolina state lawmaker is in federal court on charges he used taxpayer money to buy personal items including jewelry, a house, and Faberge eggs.
Former Republican Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston made his first court appearance before a federal judge on Monday in Raleigh. His attorney says LaRoque is innocent.
LaRoque is accused of taking $300,000 loaned to his nonprofit company through a federal program to help rural communities and giving it to another company he owned to pay for transactions that helped family members.
LaRoque resigned last week after being indicted on four counts of theft through converting federal loan proceeds and four counts of engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived funds. The 48-year-old lawmaker lost his re-election bid in the May primary.