Audacity Personified: Convicted felon who embezzled $1 million from Wake County sues to keep her state pension

RALEIGH – Some people sure to have an incredible lack of self-awareness, but Laura Riddick may take first place among local politicians. Riddick was convicted last year of embezzling nearly $1 million dollars during her long tenure as Wake County Register of Deeds. She literally took county fees for filing documents with the county and out it right in her pocket and she did it year after year, with a few colleagues getting in on the action as well.

Now, she is suing to keep her state pension because ‘she deserves it.’

“Laura Riddick, the former Wake County Register of Deeds who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $926,000 while in office, is suing North Carolina to keep her pension.

The state, her attorney argues, “exceeded its authority” and acted in error when it ordered $126,290.28 in pension payments since her retirement March 31, 2017, be repaid to the state, according to a court petition.

Despite pleading guilty to six counts of embezzlement on Aug. 24, Riddick was still able to receive $89,000 a year from the state’s pension system. Shortly afterward, State Treasurer Dale Folwell said he planned to apply state law to stop her pension payments.

“Unfortunately, public servants who placed their left hand on the Bible and raised their right hand to uphold the Constitution and laws of NC have been and are being convicted of crimes while in their public service duties,” he said in an email at the time. “It happens with Democrats and Republicans across the state. We wish it didn’t happen, but when it does, we will go in and remove the pension service during the time the person was convicted of.”


The lawsuit claims the state erroneously determined Riddick no longer qualified for retirement and had to return the $126,000 in retirement benefits to the state.

She’s also suing Folwell; Steven Toole, director of the Retirement Systems Division; and the N.C. Retirement System Commission Board of Trustees.


Riddick, now serving time at the N.C. Correctional Prison for Women, argues the state has misapplied the law and violated her constitutional rights — including against “the infliction of excessive fines imposed and cruel or unusual punishment inflicted,” the petition states.”

Politicians are kind of infamous for lacking a sense of shame. Riddick is doing her part to make sure that reputation doesn’t dissipate any time soon.

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