Former North Carolina town official sentenced to four years in prison for embezzlement, identity theft

Published 5:39 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

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A former North Carolina town official was sentenced Wednesday, December 14, 2022 to two consecutive 24-month sentences in prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from the Town of Spring Lake, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina. Gay Cameron Tucker, 64, is the former finance director and account technician for the Town of Spring Lake.

Tucker pleaded guilty on September 21, 2022 to one count of embezzlement from a local government receiving federal funds and one count of aggravated identity theft.

“Public corruption at any level is a crime that affects all of us and undermines our public institutions,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael Easley. “This defendant abused her position of trust by using public funds intended for her local community to pay her own personal expenses. Our office will continue to partner with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute allegations of public corruption.”

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According to the release, between 2016 and 2021, Tucker wrote checks from the town’s bank accounts for her personal use, forging the signatures of other town officials, including the mayor and town manager.

“These forged checks were made payable to herself, used to cover her personal expenses, and deposited into bank accounts she controlled,” stated the release. “By abusing her position of trust, Tucker stole $567,070 from the Town over this five-year period.

“During the course of the government’s investigation into Tucker, the Town of Spring Lake hired a financial consultant to assist with an audit of the Town’s finances for 2019 and 2020 and also discovered financial irregulates,” the release continued. “Tucker was removed from her position as Finance Director in March 2021.”

Easley made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William M. Gilmore and Karen Haughton prosecuted.