Beth Wood, Outgoing North Carolina State Auditor, Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanors in Vehicle Misuse Case on Last Day; Sentenced to Probation

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In a surprising turn of events on her final workday, Beth Wood, the outgoing North Carolina State Auditor, entered a guilty plea on Friday to two misdemeanor charges related to the misuse of a state-issued vehicle for personal errands.

Beth Wood, Outgoing North Carolina State Auditor, Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanors in Vehicle Misuse Case on Last Day
Beth Wood, Outgoing North Carolina State Auditor, Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanors in Vehicle Misuse Case on Last Day ( Photo: FOX8 WGHP )

The plea was accepted by Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, who subsequently sentenced Beth Wood to 12 months of unsupervised probation

According to reports from various news outlets, Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman revealed that as part of a plea agreement, Beth Wood had already made restitution of $1,064. This development marks the culmination of a tumultuous year for Beth Wood, whose utilization of a state-owned vehicle for non-official activities became the catalyst for both legal troubles and her eventual resignation. The charges, covering the years 2021 and 2022, specifically accused Beth Wood of using the assigned vehicle for personal endeavors such as attending out-of-town hair and dental appointments and visiting shopping centers and spas unrelated to her official duties.

Beth Wood, a member of the Democratic party, acknowledged last month that she had reimbursed the state for the vehicle’s personal use by deliberately overpaying for commuting miles. Her legal representative, Roger Smith Jr., affirmed on Friday that she accepted responsibility for the inappropriate use of the state car.

The indictment followed an extensive investigation by state agents, gaining momentum after Beth Wood’s involvement in a December 2022 hit-and-run incident where she collided with a parked car in downtown Raleigh

No injuries were reported in the incident. Earlier in March, Beth Wood pleaded guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and settled fines and court costs. Despite the controversies, Beth Wood had initially expressed intentions to seek reelection, but her resignation last month shifted the political landscape.

In accordance with the state constitution, Governor Roy Cooper appointed Jessica Holmes to fulfill the remainder of Beth Wood’s term through 2024. Holmes, the former Wake County Commission Chair, has since filed for candidacy, while multiple Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination in the upcoming primary for the auditor position.

 

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