One Current and One Former WCSO Deputy Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges

One Current and One Former WCSO Deputy Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges

RALEIGH — A federal grand jury returned an Indictment on Aug. 17 against one current and one former Wayne County Sheriffs deputy.

According to the Indictment, Michael Kenneth Cox, age 48, and Christopher C. Worth, age 52, were each indicted on 12 separate fraud charges stemming from an alleged scheme undertaken by Worth and Cox to steer contracts for upfits of Wayne County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) vehicles to a business owned by Cox and employing Worth, regardless of whether Cox’s company provided such work at the lowest price as required by the Wayne County procurement requirements.

Cox was employed by the WCSO from 1996 until he retired as the head of the Drug Unit in 2018. Worth joined the WCSO in 1993 and currently serves as a Major overseeing all of WCSO’s criminal enforcement sections and WCSO’s Support Services.

The FBI arrested Cox on Aug. 29 at his auto shop, Eastern Emergency Equipment.

In addition to the fraud charges, Cox was indicted for conspiring with multiple drug traffickers to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and oxycodone and two counts of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“Law enforcement officers take an oath to protect and serve our communities by upholding the rule of law,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “Our office will continue to hold accountable those who violate the public trust and abuse their position for personal gain.”

Wayne County deputy, Charles Shaeffer, was placed on leave in August after his home was raided by the FBI. After Shaeffer’s arrest, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said it hadn’t been made aware of why Shaeffer’s home was searched, or if it was in connection with the investigation into Cox and Worth.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis Duffy and Nick Hartigan are prosecuting the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of

the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:23-CR-260.