NC Rep. Lewis faces federal charges; resigns from House

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Rep. David Lewis resigned from the North Carolina House on Thursday – the same day federal charges were levied against him.

Lewis (R-Harnett) announced at the end of July that he would retire at the end of his current term and not run for re-election.

On Thursday, paperwork filed with the U.S. District Court of Western North Carolina shows Lewis faces charges of making a false statement to a bank and failure to file a tax return.

Lewis is accused of opening a bank account on Aug. 1, 2018 in the name of “NC GOP Inc” – an account he had sole authority over.

In opening the account, Lewis completed an application that confirmed “NC GOP Inc” was a North Carolina corporation in which he was president, court documents show.

But federal prosecutor say “NC GOP Inc” was not a legal entity registered in North Carolina or any state.

Court documents say on July 31, 2018, Lewis wrote a check for $50,000 from his campaign account and made it out to “NCGOP.”

On Aug. 1, 2018, Lewis deposited that check into the “NC GOP Inc” account, court document say.

Later that day, Lewis wrote a check for $47,600 from the “NC GOP Inc” account to Lewis Farms and another check for $2,050 to the Lewis’ residence’s landlord, court document say.

On Aug. 15, 2018, Lewis bought a cashier’s check for $15,000 from his campaign account and made it payable to “NC GOP Inc.” He filed that expenditure as a lawful contribution to the North Carolina Republican Party, court documents say.

He then transferred $15,000 from the “NC GOP Inc” account to a Lewis Farms account, federal officials said.

Later, Lewis made contributions to the North Carolina Republican Party for $50,000 and $15,000 from his personal bank account.

He closed the “NC GOP Inc” account on Oct. 15, 2018.

He served as chair the Rules Committee and had a key role in election laws that have passed since Republicans took control of the Legislature.

His bio page on the General Assembly’s website confirmed his resignation.

Lewis’ Twitter account and website had both been taken down Thursday afternoon.

Lewis served nine terms in the house after being elected first in November 2002.

He owns and operates Lewis Farms.

Lewis released the following statement:

Today’s agreement with the government signifies my commitment to put an unfortunate chapter behind me. The plea agreement is the result of my failing to file my 2018 tax return on time and my including a false statement on a bank form. These are my mistakes, and my mistakes alone. I am very sorry for these mistakes, and I apologize.

I was raised on a farm, and I’ve been a farmer all my life. But farming has been tough for me for the past six years in a row and the financial stress I’ve been under has been tremendous. However, that is the reality facing many family farms, and it does not excuse my mistakes.

I thank the people of Harnett County for the opportunity to serve them in the North Carolina House for the past seventeen and a half years. It’s been the honor of my lifetime. Today, I retire from public office. I am grateful for my family and our family farm.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore released a statement on the matter Thursday evening:

“I am obviously deeply disappointed by these circumstances and regret the poor reflection they have on Rep. Lewis’ public service. I have been a friend and colleague of David’s since college, and while people make mistakes they must be held accountable, particularly as public servants. I wish the Lewis family well moving forward from this.”

Speaker Tim Moore

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