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Former sheriff to learn punishment Thursday

Sentencing for former Halifax County Sheriff Stanley Noblin on five embezzlement charges is scheduled Thursday morning in Halifax County Circuit Court.

Noblin pleaded guilty in July to five embezzlement charges relating to appropriation of sheriff’s office funds for his own use, including asset forfeiture funds and drug task force funds.

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the commonwealth chose not to prosecute at that time two additional related felony embezzlement charges and 14 felony forgery charges against the former sheriff.

There was no agreement regarding sentencing, with formal sentencing continued to Thursday.

During the July hearing, Substitute Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric A. Cooke of Southampton County told Judge J. Leyburn Mosby Jr. Noblin converted an estimated $103,930 in sheriff’s office monies for his own use, including $48,500 from the asset forfeiture fund and $32,500 from the drug task force fund.

Approximately $9,250 of the funds was used for legitimate expenses, according to Cooke, who expected Noblin would owe restitution in the amount of $103,930.38.

According to the plea agreement, Noblin agreed the amount of the embezzlement in the five charges exceeded $90,000, and that each case exceeded $200.

Noblin, through his attorney, Glenn L. Berger, and Cooke agreed the restitution in those cases amounted to $103,930.38, which will be ordered by the court at the sentencing hearing the plea agreement stated.

The prosecutor told the court in July that Noblin had met with Virginia State Police and Special Agent Accountant William Talbert Jr. on several occasions during the investigation and admitted converting sheriff’s office funds to his own use because of financial hardship.

Noblin’s wife had no knowledge of Noblin’s activities, according to Cooke.

Berger told the court in July his client admitted his guilt and has taken responsibility for his actions, adding there was no “scheme” to hide it, and that none of the embezzled monies were used for illegal activities. 

A Halifax County Circuit Court Grand Jury returned 21 felony indictments against Noblin last November, including 14 for forgery of a public record and seven for embezzlement.

The indictments came after a yearlong investigation by Virginia State Police and Special Agent Accountant Talbert.

Noblin had been under investigation by Virginia State Police since October 2011 for allegations of embezzling or misusing asset forfeiture funds.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli authorized the investigation of Noblin acting on a request from Substitute Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric A. Cooke of Southampton County.

Cooke was appointed to prosecute the case when then-Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Kim White recused herself from the investigation.

During the course of the investigation, search warrants for bank accounts belonging to Noblin in several area banks were executed.

A search warrant also was executed at the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office at the beginning of the investigation.