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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 25, 2019

Pickens County Sheriff Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Wire Fraud and Tax Charges

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge today sentenced the former sheriff of Pickens County to 18 months in prison for wire fraud and filing false tax returns, announced United States Attorney Jay E. Town, FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr. and IRS-Criminal Investigations Atlanta Field Division Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman. 

United States District Judge Liles C. Burke sentenced former Pickens County Sheriff DAVID EUGENE ABSTON, of Gordo, on count of wire fraud and one count of filing false tax returns.  Abston pled guilty in June.

“Abston tarnished his office and his badge,” Town said.  “He found out today he isn’t above the law.  Those who believe they are will find themselves in federal prison.”

“While the vast majority of law enforcement officers are honest and work hard to uphold the law, Abston misued his position of trust for personal gain and will now reap the consequences of his actions,” Sharp said.

“The law is clear on the issue of taxable income and who is required to file and pay taxes: there is no gray area on the subject and we hope today’s sentencing sends a message that no person, no matter how powerful, no matter their title, is above the law,” said Holloman. “We should not forget that the ultimate victims in this case are the people of West Alabama– those honest taxpayers who diligently file tax returns each year and pay their fair share of tax.”

According to the plea agreement Abston engaged in a scheme, between 2014 and 2018, to defraud the West Alabama Food Bank, as well as the Highland Baptist Church of Gordo, – where Abston was a member –in order to reduce his jail food expenses and increase the amount of food allowance money he could keep and to filing false tax returns between 2015 and 2016 tax years. 

FBI and IRS Criminal Investigations investigated the case, which Assistant United States Attorneys John B. Ward prosecuted.   

Updated November 25, 2019