Former NHC lieutenant pleads guilty to 100 charges

Former NHC lieutenant pleads guilty to 100 charges

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Former NHC Sheriff Lt. Joey LeBlanc pleaded guilty in Superior Court Monday to 100 charges against him.

LeBlanc was fired from the Vice and Narcotics Unit when Sheriff Ed McMahon learned he was found in violation of "truthfulness; evidence procedures; and drug policy." Basically the lieutenant was fired for violating procedures on the handling of drugs in the office.

According to McMahon, deputies within the unit reported LeBlanc when they noticed irregularities in his actions.

LeBlanc pleaded guilty to:

  • 28 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud
  • 4 counts of embezzlement
  • 4 counts of altering or stealing or destroying evidence
  • 4 counts of obstruction of justice
  • 4 counts of obtaining property by false pretense
  • 28 counts of forgery
  • 28 counts of uttering

Special Deputy Adren Harris, an assistant attorney appointed to the case by the NC Attorney General's office, opposed the defendant's request for work release. Harris said the District Attorney's office was still handling cases that were possibly tainted by LeBlanc's actions and awarding work release would have been viewed as a reward for "tarnishing the badge."

In one case, Harris said LeBlanc forged  judges' signatures to obtain drugs from two separate CVS Pharmacies on 28 occasions.

Defense attorney Michael McGuinness claimed LeBlanc's actions were those of an addict, not of someone purposely acting out. McGuiness said LeBlanc went to and completed rehab in California in 2013.

According to the defense,  LeBlanc injured his hand while serving for the New Hanover County Sheriff's office. This injury, followed by several others, led to his addiction to pain medication.

The judge gave LeBlanc 4-7 years of an active sentence with 7-39 years of a suspended sentence, during which we will receive 2.5 years of supervised probation.

Judge William Parsons said a candidate like LeBlanc needs educational and vocational opportunities to be able to support his wife and three sons when he is released from jail. Parsons reminded the courtroom that addiction isn't defined by any social class; it can happen to anyone. 

Parsons concluded by saying, "work release is appropriate in this case," and he treated LeBlanc as he would any other defendant. Parsons said LeBlanc's good behavior and a clean record kept him from receiving the maximum "worst case scenario" sentence of 200+ years for the crimes he pleaded guilty to. 

Though his wife refused to comment on camera, she said today was a step in the right direction.

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