Cabarrus Co. Senator Hartsell faces 14-count indictment for campaign spending

State senator faces federal charges

CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - State Senator Fletcher Hartsell (R-Cabarrus) was indicted on federal charges Tuesday.

The indictment included six counts of money laundering, five counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

A release from federal investigators said the case was investigated by the FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigation unit with assistance from the North Carolina State Bureau of investigation.

"Our campaign finance laws must be enforced in order to protect the integrity of the American democratic process. If you abuse the power granted to you as an elected official, the FBI will work tirelessly to ensure you are held accountable for your actions," said John Strong, FBI's Special Agent in Charge.

The charges come more than a year after the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted to refer Hartsell to both state and federal investigators over questions regarding his campaign's finances.

Officials at the state board of elections began investigating after a report was published by the Raleigh News & Observer that found Hartsell used campaign money to pay for personal expenses.

A law that took effect in October 2006 and remains on the books limits a candidate's use of campaign funds to pay for expenses related either to their campaign or to holding public office.

Hartsell is the longest Serving member of the North Carolina Senate but is not seeking re-election.

DOCUMENT: State court indictment against Hartsell

The federal charges follow a three-count state indictment that was issued by a Wake County grand jury in June.

An attorney for Hartsell was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

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