Sheriff Who Took Loans to Cover Gaming Debt Faces Decades in Prison

A former Alabama Sheriff lied in applications to get approved for loans needed to cover his gambling debt. His offense may cost him a fine of up to $1 million and up to three decades in prison.

Norris Lied in His Loan Applications

William Norris, 44, served as sheriff of Clarke County. When not fighting crime, Norris would place a punt or two. His gambling hobby, however, eventually spiraled out of control and earned him a hefty debt.

Norris had to think of something and eventually falsified documents to get approved for a loan. He claimed that the money would be used to cover his office expenses, as well as to allow him to buy food for the prisoners. In reality, the prosecution claims, the sheriff used the loan to cover his gambling debt and personal accounts.

Between 2017 and 2018, Norris applied for loans at two banks in Alabama. One of the loans saw him take $75,000 and use a third of them to cover his personal debts.

Earlier Charges Dropped, the Case Will Continue

The wrongdoer resigned as Clarke County’s sheriff in June 2021, following an impeachment movement against him. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall previously addressed the case and said that Norris can no longer be trusted as a public servant. Because of that, Marshall welcomed Norris’ resignation, noting that his unlawful actions have undermined the public’s trust in law enforcement.

Norris, who pleaded guilty, now risks a $1 million fine and up to 30 years in prison. If the ex-sheriff is forced to serve jail time, he would be placed on supervised release for three years after his release.

Fortunately for Norris, the court decided to drop some of his earlier charges against him. He was accused of using campaign contributions unlawfully, violating the Fair Campaign Practices Act and the Statement of Economic Interest disclosure requirements, using his position for personal gain and evading taxes. However, these charges were dismissed because of Norris’ resignation as sheriff.   

Norris is currently not in custody but his trial will continue. A sentencing hearing is planned for a later date but no official date has been announced as of the time of this writing.

People who steal to cover their gambling expenses are, sadly, nothing new. A month ago, a UK addict stole thousands of pounds from his company to wager on cryptocurrencies. In an earlier case, a church manager stole over $6 million to fund various frivolous activities.

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