An Alabama sheriff has personally pocketed at least $1.5 million in federal funds by housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees, according to an investigation published Sunday by AL.com. Citing public records and interviews with county officials, AL.com reports that Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin receives funds from the federal government to house and feed detainees at the Etowah County Detention Center—but he splits whatever’s left over in the food budget between himself and the county’s general fund. Since October 2011, that food budget has had more than $3 million in surplus, according to the report. That surplus is so large in part because Entrekin has allegedly skimped on the food provided to inmates. One inmate told the news outlet that the facility often served expired or rotten food to cut costs. And while a loophole in Alabama state law reportedly allows Entrekin to claim a surplus of state funds, legal experts told AL.com that pocketing federal dollars is almost certainly illegal. “There’s pretty much no way that the federal government is OK with this,” said Randall Eliason, a former chief of the public corruption and government fraud section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
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