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Former Wake register of deeds accused of embezzlement used cash during vacations, SBI says

Embezzlement trial for Laura Riddick, former Wake register of deeds, is set

A trial date is of Oct. 1, 2018 is set for Laura Riddick, the former Wake County register of deeds, Monday, April 30, 2017 at the Wake County Justice Center . Riddick is charged with charged with embezzling $926,615.
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A trial date is of Oct. 1, 2018 is set for Laura Riddick, the former Wake County register of deeds, Monday, April 30, 2017 at the Wake County Justice Center . Riddick is charged with charged with embezzling $926,615.

Laura Riddick, the former Wake County register of deeds accused of embezzling more than $926,000, told investigators she "paid cash for everything" during several trips to vacation resorts.

Riddick deposited $872,555 in cash into two bank accounts between August 2010 and January 2017, according to search warrants made public Monday. Riddick had authorized the State Bureau of Investigation to obtain the bank records, which span the years that Riddick allegedly took the money from the deeds office.

Riddick, who was charged Dec. 13 with six counts of embezzlement, used credit cards to book stays to the Sanderling Resort in Duck, in the Outer Banks, and to the South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, Fla., between 2010 and 2016, according to search warrants.

But Riddick apparently used cash during the vacations, as no credit card transactions were posted during those times.

"During an interview with Riddick, she stated she paid for everything in cash," SBI Special Agent T.H. Forsythe stated in the search warrants.

Riddick and several other register of deeds office employees became the targets of a criminal investigation last year after a county audit found that more than $2.3 million could not be accounted for.

Former Wake County register of deeds Laura Riddick turned herself in to law enforcement officers on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, the day after she was accused of embezzling more than $900,000 from the office she presided over for two decades. Riddick

The SBI on May 3 obtained two search warrants to seize any documents from the vacation resorts, including membership applications, sales receipts, gift certificates, documentation of refunds and returns, and room folios.

Riddick, a 51-year-old Republican, served as the elected register of deeds from 1996 until her resignation in the spring of 2017 at the start of an SBI probe.

At the time of her resignation, Riddick had an annual salary of $143,267.

Prosecutors have alleged that Riddick and three others who worked for the register's office embezzled more than $1.13 million over six years. The trial is set for Oct. 1.

Wake County has received $1 million from its insurance company to cover part of the $2.3 million reported missing from the Register of Deeds office. Investigators haven’t been able to account for what happened to nearly $1.2 million of the missing money.

Riddick's husband is Matthew Eisley, a former reporter, columnist and editor at The News & Observer.

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