Misspent campaign funds get prison time for former lawmaker

Will serve active time

WINSTON-SALEM — Former state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell was sentenced to eight months in prison for federal charges in the misuse of campaign funds. Hartsell converted approximately $210,000 of campaign funds for personal expenses over a period of 8 years.

The U.S. Middle District Court of N.C. held the hearing Tuesday after the 70-year-old Concord lawyer agreed to plead guilty to charges of mail fraud and filing false tax returns. Hartsell knowingly filed false campaign finance reports.

He faced a total of 28 federal charges; the result of two different indictments from a grand jury.

The federal investigation into Hartsell began at the recommendation of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, which investigated the longtime senator for his use of campaign funds to pay personal expenses.

During the state board investigation, auditors found Hartsell used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses including lawn care, shoe repairs and haircuts.

Along with eight months in prison, Hartsell will be under supervised release for three years following his prison term. He agreed to pay the IRS $63,516 and to forfeit $184,059 in proceeds derived from his criminal conduct, court documents state.

Hartsell is to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on July 17.

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