Former Alabama sheriff pleads guilty to lying to bank about loan

AL former sheriff can receive a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, million dollar fine

A former Alabama sheriff who resigned during a state impeachment probe has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of lying to a bank about a loan that was used in part to pay off personal loans, court documents show.

Former Clarke County Sheriff William Ray Norris pleaded guilty Monday to one count of making a false statement to Town County National Bank in Camden about a $75,000 commercial loan he sought with a friend and business associate, Danny Lee Beard Jr.

The loan was supposed to be for purchasing heavy equipment, but Norris used $25,000 in proceeds from the loan to pay off personal loans to the same bank.

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The bank president knew what Norris planned to do but has since died and couldn't testify, said Gordon Armstrong, an attorney for Norris.

A former Alabama sheriff has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of lying to a bank about a loan after using proceeds from a $75,000 loan to pay off personal debts.

A former Alabama sheriff has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of lying to a bank about a loan after using proceeds from a $75,000 loan to pay off personal debts.

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"He’d done business with this bank for a long time, knew the banker, knew the president of the bank and got a little careless with some of the paperwork. But it’s all been paid back. So it’s really a victimless crime at this point," Armstrong told WALA-TV.

Beard also was charged and is set for trial next month.

First elected in 2010, Norris could receive a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, but prosecutors agreed to recommend leniency.

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Norris resigned last year before an impeachment proceeding was set to begin over multiple alleged acts of malfeasance. In exchange, the state dropped the case.