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Former Lee County Sheriff Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

June 10, 1988

ABERDEEN, Miss. (AP) _ A former sheriff has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution following his guilty to plea to taking payoffs from two gambling companies.

Roy Sandefer, 53, who pleaded guilty Jan. 5 to accepting the payoffs and failing to report the income on his 1986 tax return, was ordered Thursday to report to federal authorities July 11 to begin his term.

Sandefer’s sentence included a three-year term for the bribery charge and a one-year, concurrent term for the tax evasion charge.

Sandefer’s plea bargain with federal prosecutors didn’t include a condition that he not seek office when his sentence is completed, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hailman said.

″But as a practical matter, having been convicted of bribery, he probably could not get elected again,″ Hailman said.

The sheriff had served one term, which ended in January.

Sandefer had faced a maximum 13 years in prison and $350,000 in fines.

According to authorities, the former sheriff received $500 monthly payoffs for allowing two amusement companies to install and operate gambling machines in Lee County.

He was indicted on charges of bribery, extortion, conspiracy to obstruct law enforcement, aiding an illegal gambling operation and filing false tax returns.

Federal prosecutors dropped all charges but two in making the agreement under which Sandefer pleaded guilty. He also agreed to cooperate with federal authorities.

Before his sentence was announced, Sandefer told U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr.: ″I never told them they owed me a dime. I do admit I took their gratuities.″

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