Over the last three years, a sheriff from Alabama pocketed more than $750,000 in funds that were earmarked to feed inmates. Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin and his wife, Karen, then allegedly spent that money on a luxury beach home worth $740,000, AL.com reported.
On forms filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission, Entrekin reported that he made "more than $250,000" each year through the inmate-feeding funds, the report stated. Entrekin admitted pocketing the money and even told AL.com that he has a personal account, which he called his "Food Provision" fund.
Keeping "excess" inmate-feeding funds is technically legal under a state law in Alabama, according to NOLA. Many sheriffs, however, often turn in unused feeding funds to their county government. The law that makes Entrekin’s actions legal is old, made before World War II.
"As you should be aware, Alabama law is clear as to my personal financial responsibilities in the feeding of inmates," Entrekin told AL.com. "Regardless of one's opinion of this statute, until the legislature acts otherwise, the sheriff must follow the current law."
Matthew Qualls, 20, publicly criticized Entrekin by revealing to AL.com that he was paid to mow Entrekin's lawn in 2015 with a check labeled "Sheriff Todd Entrekin Food Provision Account."
"I saw that in the corner of the checks it said Food Provision, and a couple people I knew came through the jail, and they say they got meat maybe once a month and every other day it was just beans and vegetables," Qualls said in that report.
Qualls was arrested four days later and charged with drug trafficking for having marijuana butter. It was his first arrest ever. Amid public outcry, he was released from jail after taking a plea deal, The New York Daily News reported.
Jonathon Horton, a man who will be running against Entrekin for sheriff this year, told AL.com that if he is elected, he will do the opposite of Entrekin’s actions.
"I believe the funds belong to the taxpayers and any excess funds should go toward things that benefit the taxpayer," he said. "There's been a tremendous amount of money left over that shouldn't be used as a bonus check."
[Photos: Etowah County Sheriff’s Office]