NASHVILLE, TN — Rutherford County Sheriff’s Major Terry McBurney, a close friend and member of the inner circle of disgraced former sheriff Robert Arnold, will plead guilty to federal charges next week, according to court filings.
McBurney’s attorneys filed a notice of a change of plea with the court set for February 2. McBurney, who was born in Ireland, is facing charges of having lied about his citizenship status on a 2010 job application and then lying to federal immigration officials last year. A promotion to major requires U.S. citizenship and while McBurney — who has since been naturalized — was in the midst of the citizenship process, he told immigration officials he had never claimed to be a U.S. citizen.
He is charged with unlawful procurement of citizenship, false statement about naturalization under oath and wire fraud. He faces up to 40 years in prison and could have his citizenship revoked.
McBurney had been fired by Arnold’s predecessor, Truman Jones. McBurney was first demoted after a DUI arrest in which he drove drunk and hit a Murfreesboro Police car and was ultimately fired after calling his wife to pick up property from an eviction, including a flat-screen television.
Arnold rehired McBurney, telling The Tennessean that Jones had actually fired McBurney for refusing to take a polygraph examination.
Arnold and his former chief administrative deputy Joe Russell have already pleaded guilty on federal fraud and extortion charges related to their illegally profiting off the sale of e-cigarettes to inmates at the Rutherford County Jail. Arnold’s uncle, John Vanderveer, is set to plead guilty in that case next week.