Federal Charges Filed Against Former Sheriff And Deputy

A former sheriff of Carteret County and a former drug detective are both facing federal charges. </b><i>(Photo courtesy:  Carteret Co. News-Times)

Courtesy: Carteret Co. News-Times

People in Carteret County are reacting to the news that their former sheriff is facing federal charges.

The U.S. Attorneys Office in Raleigh confirms that retired Carteret County Sheriff Ralph Thomas has been charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.

A spokeswoman tells WITN News that during his time as sheriff, Thomas was involved with the theft of federal funds. A former deputy, Christopher Cozart, was also named in a separate Bill of Information. The feds say Cozart was a detective in the county's drug unit.

According to court documents obtained by WITN, Thomas, Cozart and others are accused of stealing in excess of $5,000 in federal money.

The documents say on multiple occasions between 1997 and 2006, deputies under Thomas' supervision, withdrew funds designated for covert drug investigations. The feds say Thomas kept a portion of the cash for his own personal use. The document says other individuals likewise received misappropriated funds for personal use.

No other people were named in the Bill of Information which was dated Monday. Carteret County Chief Deputy Ken Raper says no current members of the sheriff's department were involved in the alleged scheme.

John Wetherington, a neighbor of the former sheriff, told WITN, "It's kind of unbelievable. I mean, he is such a good guy. I wouldn't ever think anything like that."

Thomas was first elected in 1986 and retired as sheriff at the end of 2006. Personnel records show that Cozart was a deputy from January 2000 to July 2007.

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  • by Curious Location: Beaufort on Mar 15, 2010 at 02:18 PM
    My question is simple ........ if there is no money management policy in place, how can the funds be mismanaged?
  • by Neo Location: Reality on Mar 15, 2010 at 02:27 AM
    Classic. There are more crooks with badges and patrol cars than there are with gold teeth and low rider drawers.
  • by Anonymous Citizen Location: ENC on Mar 13, 2010 at 10:02 AM
    Hey peterpan, If you didn't catch it in the article, the Feds are investigating this. Asa has been in office for 4 years now almost and this dates back to before that. This is a case of FEDERAL funds being misappropriated. The State of NC, Carteret County SO, or Asa Buck has no jurisdiction in this case and shouldn't have anything to do with this.
  • by peterpan on Mar 13, 2010 at 05:03 AM
    how long has the current sheriff been in office? that's how long the investigation has been going on. i'd bet money on it! they didn't dump a number out there to investigate accusations, come on. they have to have something to be able to charge him with. you have elements of a crime that must be met to charge someone. it's been investigated, i'm just curious has to how long, and how much? bet it's been since the beginning of the current sheriff's term. interesting thought huh? wouldn't that be a twist!
  • by Citizen Location: Greenville on Mar 13, 2010 at 03:01 AM
    Reading the Federal Charges the investigation is a fishing charge. They really don't know the amount and have picked the $5000 figure because it conforms to Fereral Standards for opening an investigation. This means that if you receive Fed Money, the Sheriff had better keep good detailed records and have the County Lawyers review their accounts are within the law. The other question is how long after retirement is one to keep the daily personal logs where money on the job requiring re-embusement.
  • by Citizen Location: Greenville on Mar 13, 2010 at 02:48 AM
    The investigation is going to cost more than $5000. The Lawyers will eat that in one week. So if he is clean who will repay him for his lawyer costs and the county costs. Also just to pay for gas, per diem, lodging and food in supporting the Federal Program would go well beyound $5000 in 8 years. Complete waste of money to be even worried about four years after the guy retired. Once again who didn't get in on the deal. WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE
  • by peterpan Location: raleigh,nc on Mar 12, 2010 at 08:51 PM
    "in excess of 5,000.00 ..." could mean 5,001.92. I firmly believe if the allegation is true, he should be punished according to the law. i am curious as to how much this investigation has cost and how long has this investigation been ongoing?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 12, 2010 at 05:37 PM
    Looks like a democrap to me!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 12, 2010 at 05:25 PM
    No bobcat, your wrong. I do not believe that just because its on the news that it is true but the man is or was involved in SOMETHING shady! He has a lot of 'old money' he will get off even if he is guilty. Our neighbors wife has a drug problem and was going in and out of peoples homes stealing prescription drugs. Guess what? People could prove she did it and we have NEVER heard another word about the issue. Obviously no jail time. She has done this in other places too and never got into trouble. She enjoys walks on the beach almost daily. MONEY fixes everything in Carteret County. Just ask our neighbor!
  • by bobcat Location: enc on Mar 12, 2010 at 02:51 PM
    "His face is not on the front page for nothing." So much for innocent until proven guilty. Kind of like "It's on the internet, so it must be true"

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