Employee Indicted for Embezzling $500,000 from Medical Practice
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A former employee of a medical practice in Williamsburg was indicted by a federal grand jury today on fraud charges for allegedly embezzling over $500,000 from her employer.
Sherea Darnell, 33, of Southfield, Michigan, has been charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, use of an unauthorized access device, and filing false tax returns. According to court documents, from March 2012 through September 2016 Darnell was employed as the administrator at Cullom Eye and Laser Center in Williamsburg.
According to allegations in the indictment, Darnell was responsible for the administrative functions of the office and was provided with two business credit cards to be used for business purposes such as supplies and office equipment. The credit cards were paid automatically each month by Cullom’s business bank accounts. When Darnell resigned in September 2016 and moved to Michigan, Cullom began reviewing the practice’s bank accounts and saw that large payments had been made to office’s credit cards. Analysis of the business credit card statements and revealed numerous charges on the cards that what were obviously personal in nature, including paying for her son’s private school tuition, maid services for her home, entertainment, dining, high end clothing, jewelry, and airline travel for Darnell and members of her family to resorts around the country and abroad. Additionally, over $90,000 in cash advances were made on the cards.
Darnell faces a maximum penalty of 30 years on each count of bank fraud, 20 years on each count of wire fraud, and 3 years on each count of filing false tax returns, if convicted. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Kimberly A. Lappin, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement. Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard J. Zlotnick is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:17-cr-92.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.