Green was sentenced to at least three and a half years in prison Friday morning for stealing more than $221,000 in public funds from Franklin County and public schools.
"Betraying the public's trust is the worst crime I could commit, ashamed ... for the rest of my life," Green tearfully said in court. "I'm not a monster, I deserve to go to prison for what I've done. I deserve the punishment that I get. I will take advantage of time in prison to become a better man."
He also pointed out to the judge Friday that none of his family or friends were in attendance because he didn't want them there because he was ashamed of what he'd done.
Court records had showed Green received over $200,000 from the county for an undercover drug unit. The sheriff reportedly told the county finance director he was spending the large sums of money on a confidential and "huge" federal drug investigation involving a county commissioner and two senators.
In October 2011, Green was indicted on two counts of Class C embezzlement, one count for each $100,000.
Records showed less than $30,000 went to the unit. According to a search warrant, Green admitted to investigators he took money.
"I took money, I'm not going to lie to ya'll. I became depressed. I wanted to stay home. I took money to buy things for the kids, clothes, gas," Green was quoted as saying in the warrant.
He was also convicted of stealing about $18,000 from the school system.
On Friday, the judge came down on the former public official, saying he'd failed miserably in his responsibility as sheriff, however, cut Green's potential sentence of 10 years in half. Green will spend a minimum of 44 months, maximum of 62 months, in jail and will have to pay all of the money back.
"Law enforcement and elected officials have a solemn trust with the public that must be upheld," said Attorney General Roy Cooper in a statement following Green's plea. "Our State Bureau of Investigators and our special prosecutors are dedicated to making sure law breakers are held accountable."
Christine Williams, who said her brother was put away for 30 years based on Green's testimony, said Green should have been tried in federal court and should have gotten a much longer sentence.
"I don't see why he wasn't tried on a federal level, I don't see why it wasn't considered money laundering, and I don't see why and how he could be tried in a courtroom where the clerk was crying, he was getting hugs and sympathy like that," she said. "It seemed like the judge was having difficulty in sentencing him."
Green abruptly retired as Franklin County Sheriff last year, citing health and personal matters. He was elected sheriff in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010.
The Franklin County Board of Commissioners replaced Green last year with Jerry Jones, who preceded Green at the sheriff's office.