• 57°

N.C. Rep. David Lewis faces federal charges, plans plea

By Gary D. Robertson

Associated Press

RALEIGH — North Carolina state Rep. David Lewis was accused Thursday of federal bank fraud and tax violations stemming from a scheme to transfer money from his campaign committee to help his ailing farm, according to documents.

Lewis, chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee since 2015, said in a news release he’s entering a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Charlotte. A formal plea hearing is scheduled for next week, a court record says.

Lewis also resigned from the House. The Harnett County Republican already had announced last month he wouldn’t be seeking a tenth term this November.

A criminal bill of information filed on Thursday by prosecutors formally accuses of Lewis, 49, of making false statements to a bank and failing to file a 2018 tax return.

“The plea agreement signifies my commitment to put an unfortunate chapter behind me,” Lewis said in a news release. “These are my mistakes, and my mistakes alone. I am very sorry for these mistakes, and I apologize.”

Details of the plea agreement weren’t made public on Thursday. But a document released by prosecutors and signed by Lewis’ attorney laying out the facts for the agreement said that Lewis made $300,000 in transfers from his campaign account to his bank account for Lewis Farms between January and May of 2018. The campaign was later repaid in full.

In June and July of 2018, according to prosecutors, Lewis opened a bank account for an entity called “NC GOP, Inc.” and signed a document attesting it was a North Carolina corporation of which Lewis was president. But neither was true, the document says.

He subsequently deposited $65,000 in Lewis campaign checks, seemingly payable to the entity, in that bank account. Almost all of it ultimately went to Lewis Farms, the document says. Lewis later paid $65,000 from a personal bank account to the state Republican Party, in keeping with what he reported on his campaign reports, the court document said.

Recent financial troubles had surfaced for Lewis, especially after Hurricane Florence in 2018, which he said last year had caused “catastrophic damage.”

“Farming has been tough for me for the past six years in a row and the financial stress I’ve been under has been tremendous,” Lewis said in Thursday’s release. “However, that is the reality facing many family farms, and it does not excuse my mistakes.”

Comments

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Nation/World

FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID

High School

Coaches, lawmakers react to governor’s order expanding sporting event capacity

Coronavirus

Three new COVID-19 deaths, positives remain below triple digits

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper announces end to curfew, changes to restrictions affecting bars, high school sports

Crime

Blotter: Two charged after call about package

Crime

Salisbury Police investigating two shootings

Crime

Chase involving Kernersville man ends in woods behind Carson High School

News Main

North Rowan girls end season with playoff loss to Murphy

Education

Rowan-Salisbury EC department plunges in place after raising $1,300 for Special Olympics

Nation/World

Tiger Woods injured in car crash, has surgery on legs

Local

Local stakeholders set goals, direction to tackle city’s housing issues

Education

RSS board talks future of Henderson Independent School