Joe Russell gets 15 months for federal corruption

(Courtesy: Rutherford County Sheriff's Office)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – The former chief administrative deputy for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office was sentence to 15 months in prison.

Joe Russell was convicted on felony corruption charges for his role in operating a private electronic cigarette company in the county jail for personal gain.

Russell was named in a 14-count indictment in May 2016 alongside former sheriff Robert Arnold and Arnold’s uncle, John Vanderveer, on charges of honest services fraud; mail fraud; wire fraud; bribery concerning federal programs; extortion under color of official right; obstruction of justice; and conspiracy.

(Photo: WKRN)

Russell pleaded guilty on Jan. 20, 2017.

He must also pay $52,500 in restitution and to forfeit $52,234.41, an amount equal to all proceeds he received from JailCigs, LLC, the company at the heart of the fraud scheme.

The former sheriff pleaded guilty in January 2017 and was sentenced in May 2017 to 50 months in prison and ordered to pay $52,500 in restitution and to forfeit $66,790.

Arnold’s uncle, John Vanderveer, was sentenced in September 2017 to one year plus one day in prison, for attempting to tamper with a key witness in the investigation by asking her to destroy incriminating documents related to the scheme.

Click here for complete coverage of the Robert Arnold case.