NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former Sheriff Robert Arnold has been sentenced to 50 months in prison after an investigation involving the sale of e-cigs at the Rutherford County jail.
Earlier this year, Arnold pleaded guilty to wire fraud, honest services fraud and extortion. He has been jailed in Kentucky since last fall.
“I think the punishment is adequate,” the judge said in part. “You have 42 months left to serve and I know they will be difficult months.”
Arnold addressed the courtroom prior to his sentencing Thursday, saying, “I know I’ve done wrong and broke the law. Every time I was asked about it, I lied every time to my friends, people I work with and other people in the sheriff’s office and press. I’ve betrayed the people of Rutherford County and I hope they forgive me.”
Arnold, who was emotional while speaking, added his marriage has “not survived this event.”
“It’s hard,” he said.
In addition to the prison sentence, Arnold will forfeit the $66,000 earned through the e-cigs operation at the Rutherford Count jail. Rutherford County will receive $52,000 of that money.
Arnold is the father to two children, ages 4 and 9. He said he hopes he can have a relationship with them someday.
The government argued earlier Thursday that Arnold should receive the highest sentence possible and called him the “brains” behind the operation. His attorney, however, argued it Joe Russell, who is also charged in the case, was the ringleader, not Arnold.
The government also called the case a “betrayal of the public trust.”
Arnold arrived to the courthouse in handcuffs and shackles. He was wearing a neon green jail jumpsuit.
His wife and mother were in attendance. The group, Oust Sheriff Arnold, and Virgil Gammons were also there.
It has not yet been determined where Arnold will serve his remaining 42 months, but he has been recommended to go to the Federal Corrections Institute in Memphis.