John Roberts was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons in 1804 where he served until 1816. During this career, Roberts was a commissioned Lieutenant Colonel during 1813-1814 following the War of 1812 and worked as an assistant paymaster. He was elected to State Senate in 1816, however his term was short lived. In the winter of 1816, Roberts was accused of forgery and fraud relating to his work as a paymaster. While Roberts was eventually acquitted, the trial persisted until 1823. Roberts died shortly after he was found not guilty.