State regulators have opened a criminal investigation into the actions of a now-deceased Harnett County businessman who has been accused of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme.
The investigation of Raymond Mulkey Jr. is being conducted by the state Department of Insurance. Spokeswoman Kristin Milam declined to comment other than to say the investigation is ongoing.
The administrator for Mulkey's estate had earlier notified the Department of Insurance about questionable data that was uncovered during a review of Mulkey's estate.
The administrator has since voluntary surrendered the business licenses for most of Mulkey's companies.
Those businesses included Mulkey & Associates, numerous NC Premium Finance Cos. and Budg-O-Matic Finance.
Mulkey's main business was financing auto insurance premiums for people with low income or poor credit.
Mulkey, 63, was found dead in his home in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Aug. 16. The Horry County, S.C., coroner has said a cause of death has yet to be determined.
Since Mulkey's death, several North Carolina community banks have discovered apparent fraud on loan applications and paperwork involving the extension of loans.
Dunn-based New Century Bank has said it could write off $11 million in loans because of alleged fraud committed by one of the bank's former directors.
Mulkey was a founding director of New Century, which has ties to a number of prominent Democrats. Former state Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand and former Secretary of Transportation Lyndo Tipped serve on the bank's board.