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Ex-lawmaker’s federal fraud trial set for next month

RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Rep. Stephen LaRoque’s trial on charges of fraud and misappropriation of funds is scheduled to begin May 20.

U.S. Senior District Judge Malcolm Howard will preside over the case at the federal courthouse in Greenville.

LaRoque was indicted last July on eight counts of misusing federal funds and money laundering, and prosecutors later tacked on four counts of fraud.

The Kinston Republican administered a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan program for small-business development, but prosecutors say he directed the loan money to friends and family and might have used some for campaign expenses.

The fraud charges stem from allegedly lying on USDA documents and filing false tax returns.

LaRoque resigned his House seat under pressure after his indictment. Raleigh defense attorney Joe Cheshire has said LaRoque hasn’t done anything wrong.

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