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Press Release

Joint Federal And State Law Enforcement Operation Makes Arrest For Public Corruption Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On October 6, 2021, a Federal Grand Jury in Knoxville returned a multi-count Indictment against two individuals charging violations of federal offenses prohibiting public officials from taking cash payments in exchange for official acts.

Brandy M. Thornton, 44, and Roberta Lynne Webb Allen, 55, both of Sevier County, Tennessee, charged with two counts of taking cash payments in exchange for an official act. If convicted of those charges, they each could face up to 20 years in prison.

Allen appeared in court on October 7, 2021 before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges in the indictment. She was released pending trial, which has been set for December 14, 2021, before the Honorable Judge Crytzer in United States District Court, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Acting U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III, of the Eastern District of Tennessee, and Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") Special Agent in Charge, Joseph E. Carrico, made the announcement.

The participant law enforcement agencies in this investigation include the FBI Knoxville High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Rocky Top Task Force, FBI Knoxville Smoky Mountains Economic Crimes Task Force, Sevier County Street Crimes Unit, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, Sevierville Police Department, Pigeon Forge Police Department, Gatlinburg Police Department, Tennessee Department of Revenue - Special Investigations Unit, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Humphreys County Sheriff's Office, FBI Miami, Miami Gardens Police Department, Hialeah Police Department, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, and the Medley Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Quencer will represent the United States in the prosecution of this case.

The ongoing investigation leading to the indictment was the product of a partnership between numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies cooperating under the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.



Rachelle Barnes
Public Affairs Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated October 7, 2021

Public Corruption