High profile Alabama sheriff is charged with theft and corruption for ‘stealing over $29,000 of inmate money’
Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, 70, has been charged with 11 counts of theft and abuse
The veteran law enforcement officer allegedly stole $29,050 of inmate money which stored in a jailhouse safe
On several occasions he called his assistant at the jail and asked her to wire him cash from the safe
Blakely ‘eventually’ gave his assistant 19 checks from his personal bank account to replace the inmate funds
However, the sheriff allegedly asked her to hold the checks for several weeks before depositing them so that his account would not be overdrawn
Blakely allegedly stopped the practice in mid-2016 after he received more than $900,000 into his bank account
It’s unclear where that cash came from, but his lawyer implied that Blakely won hundreds of thousands of dollars
The veteran lawman has been the county sheriff since 1983
A high-profile sheriff in Alabama called his assistant from a Las Vegas casino and ordered her to wire him cash stored in a jailhouse safe, according to testimony in court Tuesday.
The bombshell allegation was made during the trial of Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely who is charged with 11 counts of theft and abuse, accused of ‘borrowing’ $29,050 in jailhouse money over three years.
Prosecutors claim the sheriff ‘abused his position for personal gain by obtaining interest free loans from the safe’ between 2013 and 2016. Most of the money purportedly belonged to inmates.
Blakely, who has served as county sheriff since 1983, pled not guilty to all charges, but faces automatic removal from office if convicted.
Ramona Robinson, who previously worked as a Limestone County jail clerk, testified Tuesday that she wired Blakely $500 at the Palace Station Casino in Sin City on November 8, 2014.
She claimed her boss requested she wire more money the following year when he returned to the same casino. Robinson told the court she did not know Blakely what he needed the funds for.
‘I didn’t ask, and he didn’t tell,’ she stated, AL.com reports.
Blakely’s defense team seized on that, arguing that the sheriff may have needed the money for law enforcement purposes.
The defense told the court that it is impossible to prove that Blakely used the cash for personal reasons. Blakely ‘eventually’ gave her 19 checks from his personal bank account to replace the inmate funds, Robinson said. However, the sheriff allegedly asked her to hold the checks for several weeks before depositing them so that his account would not be overdrawn.
Prosecutors contend that Blakely only stopped taking ‘loans’ from the inmate safe partway through 2016, when a sum of more than $900,000 was mysteriously deposited into his account.
It is unclear where the money came from. However, Blakely was known to be a gambler and won a whopping $250,000 in Tennessee that same year.
His attorney, Nick Lough, insinuated that his client may have won the lottery: ‘Is it illegal to win the lottery?’ Lough asked in court.
Blakely’s trial will continue this week.