Sheriff accused of scamming church, food bank pleads guilty

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A former Alabama sheriff accused of scamming a food bank and church and pocketing leftover money meant for feeding inmates has pleaded guilty to two of nine federal charges lodged against him.

News outlets report former Pickens County sheriff David Abston pleaded Tuesday to committing one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. The remaining charges have been dropped.

Prosecutors say Abston defrauded a food bank and church to pocket thousands under a law that let state sheriffs profit from feeding prisoners.

Abston, who held office in the rural west Alabama county for more than three decades, could face up to 20 years in prison. But prosecutors say they’ll recommend a reduction because he accepted responsibility and agreed to pay $51,280 in restitution.

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