Audit: Robert Arnold's in-law lied about citizenship - WSMV Channel 4

Audit: Robert Arnold's in-law lied about citizenship

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Major Terry McBurney was born in Ireland. (WSMV) Major Terry McBurney was born in Ireland. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A major in the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department falsified documents claiming he was a U.S. citizen when he wasn’t, according to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

Major Terry McBurney oversees warrants, records and evidence at the sheriff’s department.

McBurney was born in Ireland, according to his 2010 job application on file at the Rutherford County personnel office. He checked “yes” on the box asking if he was a US citizen.

State auditors asked McBurney when he became a citizen, and said McBurney lied to them.

“Our auditors asked him if he was a U.S. citizen, he told them he was, sometime between 2008 and 2010. We asked the deputy to provide some documentation that he was in fact a U.S. citizen but he was not able to. It wasn’t until February of 2016 after our investigators started asking him about his citizenship that he actually became a U.S. citizen,” said John Dunn, a spokesman for the Comptroller’s Office.

Auditors said McBurney marked “yes” to the citizenship question on two different federal immigration forms.

McBurney’s state application to be certified as a police officer shows McBurney also checked “yes” to the citizenship question.

Sheriff Robert Arnold signed off on McBurney’s paperwork. He and McBurney are in-laws.

"Our investigators also found that the deputy in question who falsified his citizenship status is related to Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold by marriage," Dunn said.

McBurney has been mentioned in investigative reports by Channel 4 in the past.

The day after Arnold was indicted by a federal grand jury, McBurney used his county car on county time to drive the sheriff from Murfreesboro to Nashville to turn himself in.

Recorded conversations also show McBurney tried to make it appear the sheriff was performing his duties from a jail cell in order to help Arnold hold onto his job.

Lawyers for a citizens group had filed an ouster suit and asked a judge to suspend Arnold from office, saying he couldn’t fulfill the duties of his office in jail.

Jimmy Turner is one of the attorney who succeeded in having Arnold suspended from his duties.

"There's no way he could have been running the operations there," Turner told Channel 4.

When Arnold was served with ouster suit papers in jail, a recorded conversation shows that Arnold and McBurney created a plan to make it look like Arnold was still working from his cell.

McBurney told Arnold on the recording that he and Chief Deputy Randy Garrett had discussed ways that staff members could make it appear the sheriff was involved in day-to-day activities. McBurney suggested sending some papers for the sheriff to sign from time to time.

"And it's like, we have to try to figure out if we can get somebody to drive up there every f****** day or a couple of times a week with paperwork for you to sign," McBurney is heard saying on the jailhouse recording.

"What you heard in that call was one of the strategies to make it look like he's still running the facilities. And there were many more phone calls like that. But it was a complete facade," Turner said.

The judge hearing the ouster suit didn't believe Arnold was capable of running the department from jail and suspended Arnold from office.

McBurney is still officially working for the sheriff’s department.

In an emailed statement, Acting Rutherford Sheriff Randy Garrett said he was reviewing the findings from the Comptroller’s office.

Copyright 2016 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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