Former Rep. McManus pleads guilty to felony tax charge

May. 17, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

A former state representative pleaded guilty Friday to one felony count of aiding and abetting the embezzlement of state property, according to the N.C. Department of Revenue.

Deb McManus, who formerly served Chatham and Lee counties as representative of N.C. District 54, was arrested in December and charged with three counts of embezzlement of state property. The charges related to her work as a bookkeeper for her husband's Siler City medical practice, from which the Department of Revenue claimed she had helped "embezzle, misapply and convert to its own use $47,369 in North Carolina individual income tax withheld during the period Jan. 2011 through July 2013."

McManus resigned her General Assembly seat in the wake of the allegations, which originated from an investigation by a special agent with the Revenue Department's Criminal Investigations Section in Raleigh.

When she appeared in court Friday in Wake County, Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens sentenced McManus to a prison term — 16 months minimum, 29 months maximum — that was suspended, according to the Department of Revenue. She reportedly was placed on unsupervised probation for 36 months and ordered to pay restitution of $70,474.41, perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $10,000 fine.

The restitution reportedly was paid at the time of the plea.

"Ms. McManus is pleased to have this matter behind her," said her attorney, Elliot Abrams. "Her actions were intended to prevent the medical practice where she worked from going into bankruptcy. There is no allegation of personal gain."

He added that his client "has been an active public servant for over a decade and has been proud of her service to the community."

Democratic leaders picked Robert Reives II of Lee County to succeed McManus, and he was inaugurated in February. He won the Democratic primary earlier this month and will face Republican Andy Wilkie of Goldston in November's general election.