Former Franklin sheriff headed to prison

Franklin County’s Green to serve 3 1/2 years for embezzling $221K

ablythe@newsobserver.comAugust 18, 2012 

The former Franklin County sheriff, convicted Friday of embezzling $221,000 in public funds, will follow many of the criminals he prosecuted to jail.

Patrick Allen Green, the Franklin sheriff from 2006 to January 2011, was sentenced to at least three and a half years in prison for two counts of felony embezzlement.

Green’s guilty pleas cap a case that brought tears in a Louisburg courtroom and harsh admonitions from both Judge Donald Stephens, who presided over the hearing, and state Attorney General Roy Cooper.

“Law enforcement and elected officials have a solemn trust with the public that must be upheld,” Cooper said in a statement. “Our state bureau of investigators and our special prosecutors are dedicated to making sure law breakers are held accountable.”

Green resigned last year amid a State Bureau of Investigation probe into $203,000 earmarked for undercover drug buys. The money was forwarded to the sheriff from the county finance department between October 2007 and December 2010 for a major drug investigation, according to court documents.

The former sheriff, a law enforcement officer for almost two decades, told finance officers that he was investigating a county commissioner and two senators, court documents contend.

But the finance director found out from a deputy in the Franklin sheriff’s department that no such investigation was underway. An SBI probe was launched, and, according to court documents, Green acknowledged taking $90,000 while in a state of depression after the death of his first wife in November 2008.

Another $18,000, which was money confiscated during drug cases, also was embezzled, according to prosecutors. That money eventually would have gone to the county’s public schools, as directed by state law.

SBI investigators said Green told them he used some of the money to pay household bills, including his mortgage.

In a plea deal that brought a lighter prison sentence than Green could have gotten, the former sheriff agreed to reimburse the county.

Blythe: 919-836-4948

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