Former Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold receives 4 year prison sentence

Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold
Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold (FILE)

Former Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold, who pled guilty to wire fraud, honest services fraud and extortion in January, received on Thursday a 50-month prison sentence for three felony counts.

U.S. Judge Marvin Aspen handed down the charges based on Arnold’s illegal involvement with JailCigs, which distributed electronic cigarettes to prison inmates. Arnold has already served eight months of the sentence at a facility in Kentucky. He will likely spend the next 42 months at a federal prison in Memphis.

The allegations of Arnold’s involvement with JailCigs, which bought the cigarettes sold to Rutherford County Jail inmates, arose because Arnold’s aunt and uncle, along with his neighbor and colleague Joe Russell, owned the company.

A statement from the Tennessee Ethics Commission dated Jan. 1, 2015, said Arnold received income from JailCigs.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began investigating his ties to JailCigs and, along with the FBI, raided his home two years ago, according to the Daily News Journal. Since then, the agencies investigated his ties with the companies, culminating in January with 14 criminal charges handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp.

According to WKRN, Arnold must forfeit his earnings he made from the Rutherford County Jail in addition to the prison sentence. Rutherford County will receive $52,000 of the $66,000 forfeited.

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email

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