North Carolina State legislator pleads guilty to making a false statement to a bank

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NORTH CAROLINA, USA – A member of the North Carolina House of Representatives pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a bank and failing to file an income tax return.

David R. Lewis, 49, of Dunn, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to a bank and one count of failing to file a tax return before US Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer of the Western District of North Carolina.  A sentencing hearing will be set at a later date.

According to documents filed with the court, Lewis has served as a Representative in the North Carolina House of Representatives since 2002, representing District 53. Lewis also owned and operated Lewis Farms, a farming corporation in North Carolina.

On or about August 1, 2018, Lewis opened a bank account in the name of “NC GOP, Inc.”  In completing the application to open the account, Lewis falsely certified to the bank that NC GOP Inc. was a corporation formed in North Carolina, of which Lewis was president. In fact, NC GOP Inc., was not a legal entity registered in North Carolina or in any other state. Lewis then used the NC GOP Inc., bank account to misappropriate campaign funds by disguising transfers from his campaign account to the NC GOP Inc., account as lawful contributions to the North Carolina Republican Party (commonly called the NCGOP). NC GOP Inc., had no actual association to the North Carolina Republican Party.

To that end, on or about July 31, 2018, Lewis caused a check to be written in the amount of $50,000 from his campaign account, made payable to NCGOP. Lewis caused this $50,000 expenditure to be reported to the North Carolina Board of Elections as a lawful contribution to the North Carolina Republican Party. Rather than sending the check to the North Carolina Republican Party, however, Lewis deposited the check into the NC GOP Inc., bank account immediately after opening the account on August 1, 2018. The same day, Lewis transferred the majority of the funds in the NC GOP, Inc. account to his bank account for Lewis Farms, and used the remainder to pay rent on his residence.

Additionally, on or about August 15, 2018, Lewis purchased a cashier’s check in the amount of $15,000 from his campaign account, made payable to NC GOP Inc. Lewis caused this $15,000 expenditure to be reported as a lawful contribution to the North Carolina Republican Party. That same day, however, rather than sending the check to the North Carolina Republican Party, Lewis deposited the check into the NC GOP Inc., account and subsequently transferred the funds to his bank account for Lewis Farms.

At a later date, Lewis made two contributions in the amount of $50,000 and $15,000 to the North Carolina Republican Party from one of his personal bank accounts. After using the NC GOP Inc. account to conduct the transactions described above, Lewis closed the account.

Lewis also admitted to willfully failing to file a tax return for calendar year 2018.

This case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Erica O’Brien Waymack and James C. Mann of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant US Attorneys William T. Stetzer and Dana O. Washington of the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina are prosecuting the case.

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