Former Alabama Sheriff Who Used Inmate Food Funds To Buy Beach House Now Faces Allegations of Pocketing $1.5 Million In Federal Funds

We have previously discussed the shameful and corrupt law in Alabama that allowed sheriffs to personally pocket any money left over from food funds for inmates. It is astonishing to me that the entire legislature was not held responsible and thrown from office for maintaining such a moronic and perverse law. Nevertheless, despite scandals of sheriffs pocketing hundreds of thousands for beach houses and personal windfalls, the legislature ignored national outcry over the law. Now Sheriff Todd Entrekin of Etowah County, Alabama, may have finally gone too far. Not for Alabama, mind you, but the federal government which takes a different view of pilfering the public fisc. Entrekin, who lost his re-election this year after he was found to have pocketed $750,000 allotted for feeding inmates in county lockup and using it for a beach house, is facing new allegations that he took an additional $1.5 millions aside for feeding federal immigration detainees.

For 20 years, Etowah County has been given a contract to house federal immigration detainees. That was clearly a mistake and in addition to question being raised over the legality of Entrekin taking the surplus money, there should be an investigation into the federal officials who allowed this practice to occur. Since the Depression, sheriffs have been allowed to split surplus funds with the county.

 AL.com reports that the contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was treated exactly like state and municipal funds. Since Entrekin did not spend $3 million on food for the detainees, he reportedly left with $1.5 million in federal funds.

For Entrekin, his loss was sheriff must be viewed as virtually comical since he may have walked away with more than $2 million in money set aside to feed inmates.

The question is now whether the Justice Department will pursue Entrekin and terminate any further federal contracts with the county. I fail to see how federal funds can be treated as county funds under this long-standing corrupt practice in Alabama. Entrekin’s argument will be that by commingling the funds, it all becomes subject to his cut. Time will tell if ICE agrees but it should not take any action before reviewing its own staff in permitting this outrage to happen. Ultimately, the voters of Alabama are responsible for failing to toss the entire legislature out of office over the preservation of this disgraceful practice for so long.

Etowah County has long been accused of poor conditions, including rotten food for inmates and detainees. However, Entrekin’s beach house is reportedly quite lovely.

30 thoughts on “Former Alabama Sheriff Who Used Inmate Food Funds To Buy Beach House Now Faces Allegations of Pocketing $1.5 Million In Federal Funds”

  1. absolutely incredibly corrupt actions and behavior. As you point out, there are others whose actions/inactions allowed this to happen. There ought to be a complete audit of the responsible entities.

  2. There are “constitutional defining” federal statutes in the Federal Criminal Code. These federal statutes essentially define and clarify what a constitutional violation is and the range of penalties for law breakers, following the guidelines of U.S. Supreme Court rulings. These statutes supersede other federal statutes. Neither Congress nor a state legislature can enact laws that violate the “spirit” or intent of these statutes – constitutional statutes override all other conflicting laws. For example: many parts of the Patriot Act are blatantly illegal, they blatantly violate parts of the federal Civil Rights Act (a constitutional statute that defines what a 14th Amendment violation is). Many of the laws and practices from the George W. Bush era are blatantly illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court never authorized crossing those out-of-bounds lines. Presidents don’t have the authority to torture, assassinate or lock people up long-term without charge, trial or guilty verdict. When government officials – including local officials – claim that they themselves are the “law” (not written and constitutional statutes) that is called “authoritarianism”. An official claims they are above the law and above the “supreme law of the land” violating Article VI of the United States Constitution. Since small time sheriffs have been punishing African-Americans and other minorities, since the Civil Rights era, the heroes upholding the supreme law of the land have been the U.S. Department of Justice, federal judges and the U.S. Supreme Court. Where are those heroes today policing illegal authoritarianism like this guy? A Writ of Mandamus could force local legislators to honor Article VI of the U.S. Constitution and their own Oath of Office.

      1. David Benson is the God Emperor of Making Stuff Up and owes me twenty-five citations (one from the OED, one from the town ordinances and two from the Old Testament), an equation and the source of a quotation, after twenty-eight weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – the London Bridge that fell down was not moved to Arizona, another London Bridge was.

  3. Not for Alabama, mind you, but the federal government which takes a different view of pilfering the public fisc.

    pilfering the public fisc is A-OK with the federal government so long as it is the US governments own agencies/departments (eg Department of War, Department Housing Urban Development) doing the pilfering.

    Italicized/bold text below was excerpted from a website named Forbes.com found within a report titled – Is Our Government Intentionally Hiding $21 Trillion In Spending?:

    In our prior column, Mark and I wrote about $21 trillion in unaccounted government transactions, primarily on defense. The DOD’s (Department of Defense) as well as HUD’s (Department of Housing and Urban Development) Offices of Inspector General (OIG) reference these transactions as “unsupported journal voucher adjustments.” This is polite accounting language for lost, hidden or stolen money. If such “adjustments” were small, it would be one thing. But they totaled some $21 trillion between 1998 and 2015!

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kotlikoff/2018/07/21/is-our-government-intentionally-hiding-21-trillion-in-spending/#63954bf04a73

  4. Hopefully Congress will not discover this law and vote to apply it to themselves and the prison industry.

  5. the reason that fraud does not get prosecuted much is partly because the police are focused on immediate threats to public order such as everything from DUI to murder. Those are critical threats and fraud is bad but a lower sort of social harm. It is also far more difficult to investigate and prosecute. The reasons for that relate to proof of intent. It is not unlawful to want to make a profit or to make sales talk with puffed up forward looking promises; rather it is unlawful to represent past and existing facts, and to do so with the intent to induce reliance and thereby to improperly profit. The statutes and elements of proof vary but that is the core idea for fraud across both civil and criminal statutes.

    Proof of intent is difficult and the distinction between what is a material misrepresentation or an immaterial one; or what induces reliance and what does not; or what is a past or existing fact versus a future promise, are all subject to heavy lawyering. heavy lawyering is a difficult thing for prosecutors to want to invest in when DUIs are killing people every day to say nothing of all the rest of horrors from child neglect to rape and murder.

    Those are the practical reasons why fraud is not well prosecuted.

    All that said I think the FBI is remiss in failing to prosecute a lot of white collar crime. they are more interested in dope cases which bring them big money forfeitures or at least easy plea bargains; and the whole skullduggery thing, counterintelligence, which they are not very good at either it seems to me, worrying about Russians meddling when the Chinese are engaged in massive industrial and technological espionage with little enforcement threat at all.

  6. Sheriff Caught Buying Property With Jail Food Funds, Has Tipster Who Turned Him In Arrested

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180321/11473739471/sheriff-caught-buying-property-with-jail-food-funds-has-tipster-who-turned-him-arrested.shtml

    Excerpt:

    But this story continues to get worse. It appears the sheriff has managed to take a journalist’s source out of public circulation.

    Sheets’ investigation has also made headlines because of the arrest of a key source.

    Sheets spoke with a landscaper named Matt Qualls who mowed Entrekin’s lawn in 2015 and noticed the name of the account on his checks — the “Sheriff Todd Entrekin Food Provision Account.” He shared pictures with Sheets.

    “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 told Sheets. “I put two and two together and realized that that money could have gone toward some meat or something.”

    Sheets’ initial story was published on Feb. 18. On Feb. 22, Qualls was arrested and charged with drug trafficking after an anonymous call complained of the smell of marijuana from an apartment.

    How fortuitous that an anonymous call would come along only days after AL.com exposed Sheriff Entrekin’s discretionary spending. Even more fortuitously, another law enforcement agency actually performed the arrest (working with a drug task force that contained members of Entrekin’s force), giving the Sheriff mostly implausible deniability.

    [S]pokeswoman Natalie Barton said via email Monday that the case against Qualls “belongs to and was initiated by the Rainbow City Police Department” and “[t]he Etowah County Sheriff’s Office did not have any involvement in the arrest of Mr. Qualls.”

    But it did have some involvement. The drug enforcement unit included deputies of Entrekin’s. And it was the sheriff’s department that decided to stack charges against Qualls, which could seem him facing several years in prison. [End of excerpt]

  7. The sheriff belongs in jail…one with the same food he provided and the same conditions. I won’t hold my breath.

    1. cops steal stuff from “suspects” all the time.

      for example in any asset forfeiture where cash is offered up for process, the question is, how much cash did the cops book or not in the first place?

      the stories people tell are amazing. but what proof is there? clients holding thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in cash don’t usually keep a ledger. LOL I bet the regular detail of cops books about half the money they “seize”

      I heard a good story about the rare winning case of asset forfeiture money recovered from “Freeway rich ross…” never heard of him?

      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/gary-webb-dark-alliance_n_5961748.html

  8. 21 Trillion is mission from the DOD budget. There is a lot of fraud going on between the govt. and private corporations. Things have really come to a bad pass and the weak are abused by the powerful, often w/the consent of too many Americans. This must stop. I’m glad he was caught.

    1. 21 Trillion is mission from the DOD budget.

      No clue where this silly meme comes from. “$21 tn” exceeds the entire annual domestic product. It amounts to 1/4 of the value of all assets in the country. For the record, the ratio of military expenditure to domestic product bounces around a great deal more than do other categories of public expenditure. Over the period since 1940, the median value of that ratio (assessed annually) has been 0.067. The current value is 0.038.

      1. A2

        Your could always look it up! Here’s one report: 24,161 viewsJul 21, 2018, 10:10am
        Is Our Government Intentionally Hiding $21 Trillion In Spending? Forbes magazine. Mark Skidmore is one of the people documenting this so you could research his work if you’re interested.

          1. WOW, a2, you are a speed reader and researcher! You go from knowing absolutely nothing about the mission 21 trillion to quickly doing a lot of research enabling you to conclude it’s all B.S. Very Impressive!!!!!!

            P.S. There’s also the matter of an addition 21- 29 trillion in bailout funds to the banks. I’m sure after you take 2 seconds or so, you’ll know that didn’t happen either! Amazing intellect you have there!

            1. the 21 trillion number is totally wrong and erroneous

              that is not to say that there are not huge black budgets
              and being black it’s not clear how much, not at all.

              a small anecdote, the microcosm. I have a friend who was in SF near the Cambodian border in 69. I won’t say more about who or where. I verified his service. He says, and I can’t verify this, but I take it at his word for it: they had a small and insufficient official budget and unofficially they had two extra ways to make money or maybe get killed for lack of necessary funds.

              And so they derived profits from 2 local enterprises:

              a) whorehouse
              b) sweatshop making tire sandals

              I’m not clear on the details of how these added to the SF budget, but if I had been running it, i would have just peeled off a little protection rent every month, that would be the simplest way to make money and stay clear of trouble.

              I surmise that these particular SF were smart because they had to be; and they did not tolerate the usual rackets to be run by local thugs, and rather they replaced them by force.

              I doubt that it has ever been very hard for the military to find creative means of finance. to say nothing of the CIA that has been thick as thieves with investment bankers since the OSS. The old stories the Wall Street Journal ran about Mena Arkansas come to mind.

              1. The 21 trillion is completely documented w/original sources. Check it out please! This is literally years of carefully researched and documented data. I realize it is difficult to believe. Therefore I ask that you do look at the research and the data it’s based on.

                1. The 21 trillion is completely documented w/original sources.

                  It is not, except by someone innumerate. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

            2. Jill, the entire real estate portfolio of every personal and corporate entity in this country is salable at about $23 tn in sum. If you think the Pentagon can lose or conceal $21 tn, it’s because you know nothing of the scale of economic activity in this country. That Mark Skidmore is equally ignorant but insists on publishing articles about it says something about Mark Skidmore.

              1. a2, looks like all ya got is personal attacks. You’ve already said you think I’m stupid and Skidmore is stupid, so we know what your personal thoughts and attacks are. There’s really no need to repeat them! Why be terrified of looking into the info.? It’s documented, peer reviewed and extensive researched. Is that why you’re so afraid to examine it?

                Other people don’t scare so easily and I’m certain they will be willing to look at the research and make up their own minds. Whatever your personal attacks may be they can’t change reality!

                1. Jill – who are the peers who did the reviews and what are their CV’s? And if Congress and Judicial Watch cannot get FOIA requests filled, how documented is this?

                2. The term ‘personal attack’ does not mean what you fancy it means.

                  My point is fairly simple, but it keeps flying over your head because you understand nothing of the subject at hand. I can explain something to you. I cannot comprehend it for you.

  9. I have heard that phone numbers for reporting crimes are bombarded with complaints about elected officials and corporate officers stealing millions of $$, although the intent of the “reporting” is limited to arresting only poverty-stricken petty criminals.

    1. although the intent of the “reporting” is limited to arresting only poverty-stricken petty criminals.

      There’s a reason there are comparatively few robberies, rapes, or homicides in suburban loci, and it’s not because law enforcement ignores them.

      A great many impecunious people live in trailer parks in New York. The homicide rate in non-metropolitan counties in New York is just over 1 per 100,000. Nationwide, it might be 2.5 per 100,000, even though per capita incomes outside of metropolitan commuter belts are about 25% lower than they are inside such commuter belts. Homicide rates are particularly inflated in slum neighborhoods, commonly exceeding 25 per 100,000.

      The Census Bureau tells us that in the City of Detroit, per capita income levels are about 52% of national means. That would be similar to the per capita income of Portugal today or to that of the United States ca. 1980. The homicide rate in Portugal today was assessed in 2016 at 0.64 per 100,000. That in the United States in 1980 was about 10 per 100,000. That in Detroit is currently 48 per 100,000.

      If you knew anything, it would have occurred to you that real income levels are a weak vector in influencing people’s propensity to engage in predatory behavior.

      1. Ax2,

        I think you missed what sam was actually saying. He agrees w/you. However, you did a good job fleshing out this idea.

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