CHARLOTTE — The last man tied to a Cherryville conspiracy case pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday morning. Frankie Dellinger, a former reserve officer with the Cherryville Police Department in 2012, admitted his guilt to four counts including extortion and money laundering.
Prosecutors say he accepted bribes and conspired to protect items he thought were stolen. Now Dellinger is facing a lengthy prison sentence.
Dellinger walked into Federal Court Thursday and pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. The government said Dellinger offered protection for truckloads of items he believed to be stolen. He was actually dealing with undercover FBI agents.
"He's just glad to try and get this behind him and get on with his life,” said Dellinger's defense attorney Len Kornberg.
Dellinger is the last man tied to this conspiracy case to plead guilty. He faces the most severe prison time because according to court documents he appears to be the ring leader.
The federal indictment said the FBI began investigating Dellinger in 2011. They received reports he was misusing his public office to break the law. The FBI began an undercover investigation. In 2012, agents busted Dellinger and the two men he recruited.
Dellinger tried speaking with a blonde woman as he was lead out of court. She told News 14 Carolina she had nothing to say as she left the courthouse.
Dellinger pleaded guilty to conspiracy, two counts of extortion, and money laundering conspiracy. The government says he accepted more than one bribe of more than $10,000. He faces a maximum of 65 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.
The five other men tied to this case already entered guilty pleas. They are all awaiting sentencing.