Former Charlotte mayor Patrick Cannon, the city’s first chief executive convicted of public corruption, left a West Virginia federal prison Thursday after serving half of his 44-month sentence for taking a series of bribes from undercover FBI officers.
It’s a six-hour drive from Morgantown to Charlotte, and as of 9:45 p.m. Thursday, the next stop for Cannon, a 49-year-old Democrat, was unclear.
In Cannon’s case, it is likely his south Charlotte home. But it also could be the McLeod Center on Clanton Road, the county’s only halfway house for federal inmates.
WBTV, an Observer news partner, reported early Thursday afternoon that several people, possibly federal agents, were seen entering the Cannon home after 1:30. Probation officers were expected to meet Cannon upon his return to attach an electronic monitor he must wear on his ankle.
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There were no sightings of Cannon, however. His attorneys did not return phone calls or messages seeking comment. Cannon did not answer the cellphone number he had before his imprisonment.
He entered minimum-security FCI Morgantown in November 2014. Upon his departure, Cannon became the ward of the federal Residential Re-entry Management Office in Raleigh, one of 25 centers around the country that oversee some 200,000 federal inmates who have been released from prison and have begun transitioning to freedom. Cannon officially becomes an ex-convict on Jan. 25, when he begins two years of supervised release.
Television news crews camped out near the prison did not see him leave. Marilyn Veltri, the facility’s public information officer, did not respond to an email on whether Cannon left under normal procedures or had been afforded extra privacy as a former elected official.
Released inmates on home confinement are usually accompanied by a parole officer who checks their homes for guns and to make sure other persons convicted of felonies are not living there, said Pat Cotham, a Mecklenburg County commissioner who formerly worked with prison inmates reentering society.
If assigned to his Ballantyne area house, Cannon can only leave only for work, medical reasons or church. He has to report to his probation officer within 72 hours of his release. He and his residence are subject to spot checks by authorities at anytime.
All travel outside of Western North Carolina must be approved, and Cannon cannot abuse drugs or alcohol. He must find a job that pays enough so he can “support his dependents and meet other family responsibilities,”
If he violates any of the 25 stipulations attached to his case by the federal courts, Cannon can be taken back into custody for the remainder of his term.
His original sentence included a $10,000 fine and some $50,000 in restitution, the latter covering the amount of bribes he took from undercover FBI agents over a 13-month period ending with his March 2014 arrest. Court documents indicate his debt was paid in full about a month after Cannon entered prison.
Public records indicate Cannon still owes more than $11,116 to the Internal Revenue Service.
Researcher Maria David contributed.