A third guilty plea in Rutherford Country sheriff corruption case

John Vanderveer became the third defendant to plead guilty in the Rutherford County sheriff’s corruption case on Monday, reports the Daily News Journal. Vanderveer is the nephew or former Sheriff Robert Arnold, who pleaded guilty earlier, along with Joe Russell, who was a chief administrator in the sheriff’s office.

Vanderveer pleaded guilty to one count of witness tampering for trying to convince a sales representative to destroy documents tied to Arnold and Russell.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the recommended (sentencing) guideline range is 18 to 24 months in prison, prosecutors said.  Vandereer also faces a $250,000 fine and supervised release of not more than three years. He will also be required to repay the county $52,500 from electronic cigarettes revenues from the JailCigs business.

His sentencing hearing will take place at 2:30 p.m. on May 19.

Arnold, Vanderveer and Russell had faced a 14-count federal grand jury indictment since late May accusing them of illegally profiting from inmates at the Rutherford County Jail by selling Jail Cigs.  A jury trial had been scheduled Feb. 7 prior to the hearings on the guilty pleas.

Arnold pleaded guilty to wire fraud, honest services fraud and extortion on Jan. 18, and Russell pleaded guilty to the same three charges Jan. 20.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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