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A former U.S. Attorney, state judge and state Republican chairman has agreed to plead guilty to charges related to a tax fraud conspiracy, federal prosecutors in Raleigh, N.C., said Wednesday. Samuel T. Currin will plead guilty to conspiring to launder $1.45 million through his law firm’s client trust account and to lying on his taxes by failing to report an offshore debit card account, prosecutors said. Three others also have been charged. Currin, 57, will also plead guilty in a related case to obstructing a grand jury investigation into securities fraud, in which he conspired to withhold documents and provide false testimony, U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert said. He could be sentenced to as many as 43 years in prison. Prosecutors allege Currin and his conspirators sent out fraudulent promotional materials on several publicly traded Nevada companies. When stock prices and trading volumes increased, those participating in the scheme profited on the sale of the securities, they say. Prosecutors said Currin received more than $240,000. “At the end of the day, I hope the public will recognize that Sam has had a long and distinguished career as an attorney and public servant,” Currin attorney Mark Calloway said in a statement. “Sam recognizes he has made a serious mistake, and he is doing what he can to make it right.” Tax attorney Ricky Graves; Howell Way Woltz, president of Sterling Trust in the Bahamas; and his wife, Vernice Woltz, a director of Sterling Trust, are also charged. Currin was an aide to U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms; U.S. Attorney for eastern North Carolina from 1981-87; state GOP chairman from 1996-99; and a Superior Court judge until 1990. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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