This story originally published online at NC Newsline.

Former Wake County Register of Deeds Laura Riddick has been released from prison after serving five years behind bars for embezzling nearly $1 million in public funds.

Riddick pleaded guilty in 2018 to six felony counts of embezzlement by a public officer. As part of the plea deal, she was sentenced to between five and seven years and ordered to repay $926,615 in restitution. In a court hearing before pleading guilty, Riddick said she had a mental condition that caused her to hoard money.

“I’m very sorry to have caused you and all of us to be here today,” Riddick said in a court hearing, as reported by WRAL. “Holding an elected position of trust, I committed a serious crime for which I will always be deeply remorseful.”

Riddick was released earlier this week, on August 23, which was also her projected release date, according to records maintained by the Department of Adult Correction. She will be on supervision for one year.

The purpose of post-release supervision, according to state statute, is to monitor formerly incarcerated people in the community, help them reintegrate into society, and continue their treatment or education.

Riddick’s father wrote an opinion column in the News and Observer in 2019 arguing that Riddick received a particularly harsh sentence, considering that she took responsibility for her actions, encouraged others to cooperate with law enforcement, and paid the money back that she stole.

“You can find N.C. embezzlers sentenced to more time than Laura — but none who made full, immediate restitution,” wrote her father, Peter Marino. “Or have a bad heart condition and a circulatory disorder. Or were mentally ill.”

Riddick, a Republican, ran the Wake County Register of Deeds office from 1997 to 2017.

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