Alabama sheriff charged with scamming food bank, church

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff is charged with scamming a food bank and his own church to pocket thousands under a law that let state sheriffs profit from feeding prisoners.

Court records show Pickens County Sheriff David Abston was arrested Friday, and he is pleading guilty to fraud and filing a false tax return.

A statement by prosecutors says Abston got his own church involved in the West Alabama Food Bank. Authorities say Abston then wrote checks to purchase cut-rate food that was meant for the poor and used it to feed prisoners.

A Depression-era law changed by lawmakers this year let sheriffs profit from jail kitchens. But prosecutors say Abston’s setup was a scam, and records show Abston has agreed to forfeit about $51,000.

Abston resigned and faces prison time.

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