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A dozen cops in a single Tennessee county face more than 120 corruption charges combined

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Chuck Arnold, the former Sheriff of Gibson County was recently indicted on 113 separate corruptions charges relating to his time as sheriff. However, after his arrest he was quickly released on a $10,000 bail, which is incredibly low when compared to the bail rates that are assigned to everyday nonviolent offenders.

Arnold was arrested with 11 other officers who were reportedly involved in his schemes.

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Below is a list of their charges from TBI Press:

• Chuck Arnold, 58 – Four counts Theft over $10,000, 55 counts Official Misconduct, nine counts Theft over $1,000, one count Forgery, one count Theft of $500 or more, one count Attempted Theft of $1,000 or more, two counts Attempted Theft of $10,000 or more, one count Conspiracy to Obtain Controlled Substance by Fraud, 39 counts Obtaining Controlled Substance by Fraud. Bond set at $10,000.

• Jeff Maitland, 48 – One count Attempted Theft of $10,000 or more, 42 counts Official Misconduct, one count Conspiracy to Obtain Controlled Substances by Fraud, 39 counts Obtaining Controlled Substances by Fraud, one count Theft of $1,000 or more, two counts Theft of $10,000 or more. Bond set at $5,000.

• Eddie Bradford, 41 – One count Theft of $1,000 or more, one count Official Misconduct. Bond set at $2,500.

• Darla Crenshaw, 48 – One count Attempted Theft of $1,000 or more, two counts Official Misconduct, one count Theft of $1,000 or more. Bond set at $2,500.

• Joel Hughey, 39 – One count of Theft of $1,000 or more, one count Official Misconduct. Bond set at $2,500.

• Melissa Hunt, 28 – One count Theft of $1,000 or more, one count Official Misconduct. Bond set at $2,500.

• Benjamin Lee, 49 – One count Theft of $10,000 or more, one count Official Misconduct. Bond set at $2,500.

• Shaun Phinnessee, 37 – One count Theft of $1,000 or more, one count Official Misconduct. Bond set at $2,500.

• Robert Pinkerton, 36 – Two counts Theft of $10,000 or more, two counts Official Misconduct. Bond set at $2,500.

• Charles Simpson, 65 – One count Theft of $10,000 or more, one count Official Misconduct. Bond set at $2,500.

• Teresa Sturdivant, 45 – One count Theft of $1,000 or more, one count Official Misconduct. Bond set at $2,500.

• Renea Terrell, 46 – One count Conspiracy to Obtain Controlled Substance by Fraud, 39 counts Obtaining Controlled Substance by Fraud, 39 counts Official Misconduct, two counts Theft $1,000 or more. Bond set at $2,500.

Isolated incidents?

According to TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland, the new Sheriff Paul Thomas noticed some discrepancies in the department’s records when he was entering the position, and decided to do an audit to see the type of legacy that he was inheriting.

“This started out as a concern the current sheriff had when he came into office that there were some items missing. As a result of that, they found several discrepancies in areas such as employee compensation, monies from the drug fund, and the way that some prescriptions were being handled,Niland said.

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“Through the investigation, TBI Agents learned that former Sheriff Chuck Arnold and former Chief Deputy Jeff Maitland allowed employees to be paid for regular and/or overtime hours they didn’t work. Special Agents also developed information that Arnold, Maitland, and Terrell… were involved in writing and filling prescriptions for controlled substances in the names of inmates who never received the medication. The investigation further revealed that Arnold removed money from the drug fund for his personal use, and forged documents using another individual’s name,” a statement from TBI said.

Sheriff Thomas explained that he conducted an audit as a precautionary measure while entering his new position.

“Honestly, the audit I asked for was more for my protection. I just wanted to make sure when I took office what I was responsible for. As they were trying to identify my starting point with the last stopping point from the previous administration, they started noticing the discrepancies,” he said.

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The charges against Arnold and the other officers involve drugs that were stolen from evidence and fake prescriptions that were written, but they are oddly not accused of selling drugs, which it could easily be implied that they were.

It has not been reported whether or not all of the officers in question will lose their jobs.

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“I’m going to meet with each of the current employees tonight before we go home, individually, one-on-one, and discuss their options. Each one, we’ll sit down individually and come up with a plan for their future with the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Thomas said.

Arnold’s attorney Mark Donahoe said on Monday that Arnold plans to plead not guilty to the charges against him.

“We intend to plead not guilty and intend to vigorously defend the case,” Donahoe said.

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If an average person was faced with this many serious charges their bail would likely be over a million dollars. If Arnold does actually have tremendous evidence against him and is found guilty, it will be interesting to see if he gets a slap on the wrist and is able to avoid jail time.


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