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Oct 26, 2010 10:19 AM by Nichole Larkey

Trial starts for Avoyelles ex-sheriff

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - The federal conspiracy trial of former Avoyelles Parish Sheriff Bill Belt and his wife and sister is under way. Bill and Tracy Belt are accused of pocketing profits from jailhouse telephones; Julie Bernard is charged with lying to the FBI.
U.S. District Judge Dee Drell is presiding
over the trial in Alexandria. It is expected to last two weeks.
All three are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The Belts also are charged with multiple counts of mail fraud, and Bernard with obstructing justice and making a false statement to the FBI.
When the Belts were indicted, prosecutors said the alleged scheme netted more than $500,000.

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