Ex-North Carolina Prison Manager Sentenced For Embezzlement

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former North Carolina prison manager has been sentenced to at least four and a half years in prison for embezzling more than $260,000 from the state over nearly eight years.

Michael Scott Ragan, 50, was a former business officer at Central Prison in Raleigh, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. According to an indictment, Ragan embezzled the money between September 2012 and March 2020 by using state-issued procurement credit cards to buy Christmas decorations, gift cards, jewelry, pet supplies, appliances and furniture.

Two of the credit cards came from other state workers who didn’t know their cards were being used, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said.

Some of the embezzled money went to help put on an elaborate holiday light show at Ragan’s home in Oxford, northeast of Durham, Freeman said. In a story in January 2020 about the light show posted on the web page of Duke University’s Department of Pediatrics, Ragan and his wife had agreed to give all donations for the light show to Duke Children’s Hospital that year.

Ragan has repaid $15,000 of the money and has been ordered to pay restitution for the rest of what he embezzled, according to Freeman.