Gambling debt led Alabama sheriff to falsify loan applications: Feds

Posted: September 27, 2022, 8:54 a.m.

Last update on: September 27, 2022, 08:54h.

A former Alabama sheriff pleaded guilty Monday to a felony related to loans he said were needed to pay office expenses. But some of the loan requests were used to cover his personal gambling debt, prosecutors claimed.

William
William “Ray” Norris, pictured above. The former Alabama sheriff pleaded guilty to one charge after allegedly falsely applying for loans. Some of the money was used to cover his gambling debt. (Image: WPMI)

William “Ray” Norris, 44, who served as sheriff of Clarke County, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a federally insured institution, according to reports. Other charges were dismissed earlier.

Faces a $1 million fine and decades in prison

If convicted, Norris could face up to 30 years in prison. He also faces a fine of up to $1 million. If he is incarcerated, after his release from prison, he could be placed on probation for three years.

Officially, Norris said the money was for office expenses and food for the prisoners. But the money was used to cover his own gambling debt, personal overdraft accounts and other personal expenses, an indictment revealed, AL.coman Alabama regional news site, reported.

After news of the allegations surfaced, he resigned as sheriff in June 2021. He was initially charged with multiple counts and there was an attempt to remove him.

But impeachment proceedings against Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office stalled after Norris resigned.

The indictment came after Norris requested four loans from two Alabama banks between 2017 and 2018, AL.com said. The banks were identified as Town County National Bank in Camden and Sweet Water State Bank in Sweet Water.

Earlier this year, Norris and a former business partner were also charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama. Norris had requested more than $192,000 from Town Country National Bank in loans between November 2017 and June 2020, officials said.

Norris also allegedly used part of a $75,000 bank loan to pay off $25,000 in personal loans he took out at the bank, prosecutors said.

Prior Charges Abandoned

Earlier, Norris was also charged with five counts of unlawful use of campaign contributions, violation of the Fair Campaign Practices Act, use of office for personal gain, violation of statement disclosure requirements. of economic interest and tax evasion. Alabama todayreported a local news site.

But those charges were dismissed in March by Alabama Judge Braxton Kittrell. He explained that Norris agreed to resign as sheriff and that a plea deal saved him from being sued again for allegations while he was sheriff, Alabama today said.

In a statement last year, Marshall said the public must be able to trust elected officials, especially law enforcement officials.

Sheriff Norris could no longer be trusted as a public servant or as a law enforcement official, and his resignation should be a welcome relief to the public,” Marshall added in the statement. “Sheriff Norris’ decision to resign from office, however, does not preclude the possibility of criminal charges being brought against him.”

A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled for the single charge. Norris is not in custody pending sentencing.

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