Easley aide sentenced to 12 months

Published 10:48 am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

RALEIGH – One of former North Carolina Governor Mike Easley’s top aides will spend the next 12 months behind bars.

On Tuesday, Charles Ruffin Poole, 39, of Raleigh was sentenced to 12 months and one day imprisonment followed by two years’ supervised release. The Court also imposed a $30,000 fine and restitution of the underpaid taxes of $16,629 (which Poole has already paid).

United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle handed down the sentence in federal court in Raleigh.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal

Indictment on March 18, 2010. On April 19, 2010, Poole pled guilty to federal income tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201. That came just prior to a court date scheduled for Poole where he faced 57 counts of corruption.

“Today was about Ruffin Poole. In the sentencing today, Ruffin Poole was held accountable for his conduct…taking a deal netting him $55,000 (and other favors) from the financier of coastal developments while he was using his official position in the Governor’s Office to facilitate permitting for these developments,” said United States Attorney George E.B. Holding while making the announcement of Poole’s sentencing.

According to the plea agreement, on April 14, 2006, Poole attempted to evade a portion of his 2005 federal income tax

liability by concealing his receipt of $30,000 of income he received in connection with his involvement in the financing of Cannonsgate, a high-end community in Carteret County. In the sentencing, Poole was also held accountable for receipt of an additional $25,000 from the same source, which was also not reported on his tax returns.

As part of the plea agreement, Poole agreed that he failed to report and correctly identify the source of income from criminal activity, i.e., these corrupt payments he received the Wilmington financier of the coastal developments.

“No one is above the law,” said Jeannine A. Hammett Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Lawyers and other professionals, like workers from all walks of life, have to pay their fair share of income taxes. People who break these laws face serious felony charges, prison time and having to pay back all the taxes owed with interest and penalties.”

“People in positions of public service are there to act for the common good, not to line their own pockets by abusing the power they wield,” said Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina. “Evading taxes may not seem like a big deal, but even the smallest offense chips away at the trust put in public servants, and destroys faith people have in government.”

Investigation of this case was conducted by the State

Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations Division. First Assistant United States Attorney John Stuart Bruce and Assistant United States Attorney Dennis M. Duffy were assigned as prosecutors.