MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A major with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office has been indicted by a federal grand jury for unlawfully obtaining U.S. citizenship.
Terry McBurney, 47, pleaded not guilty to nine federal charges Thursday afternoon.
According to the indictment, McBurney was born in Ireland and submitted an application for employment to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office in September 2010. He indicated in additional paperwork he was a U.S. citizen when, according to a press release, he was not.
Since working with the sheriff’s office, McBurney has been promoted several times, including most recently in January of this year.
The U.S. Attorney for Middle Tennessee says Rutherford County requires a captain or major, positions that McBurney has held, to meet a number of requirements, including being a U.S. citizen.
At the time of his most recent promotion, the indictment alleges McBurney was not a citizen of the United States.
McBurney reportedly submitted an application for naturalization to seek status of a U.S. citizen in September 2015.
During a December 2015 interview, he allegedly denied he had ever claimed to be a citizen in writing or any other way. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen on February 24, 2016.
If convicted McBurney faces up to 10 years in prison for unlawful procurement of naturalization or citizenship, up to 5 years for making a false statement under oath in a matter relating to naturalization and up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud. He also faces a $250,000 fine for each charge and possible revocation of his U.S. citizenship.
Chief Deputy Randy Garrett said in a statement, “We are currently reviewing the findings were received Wednesday.”
News 2 has learned that McBurney is currently on leave and recently applied for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and ICE- Homeland Security Investigators were both involved in the investigation.