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Press Release

Medical Practice Manager Sentenced for Fraud and Tax Charges

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

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A former resident of Williamsburg was sentenced today to over 5 years in prison for stealing approximately $514,000 from a Williamsburg ophthalmologist and filing false tax returns that concealed the stolen funds.

According to court documents, Sherea Darnell, 35, worked as the practice manager for the Cullom Eye and Laser Center, located in Williamsburg, from 2012 to 2016. Both Darnell and Dr. Robert Cullom were actually W-2 employees of Riverside Medical Group. Over a four-year period, Darnell used three of Dr. Cullom’s credit cards to conduct personal transactions for her own benefit totaling approximately $514,000. She also obtained access to Dr. Cullom’s Wells Fargo Advisors accounts, which she used to pay the balances of the credit cards without his authority, including an account that had been established to pay for medical equipment, but which Darnell diverted into making payments on the credit cards. Darnell used the victim’s credit cards to pay for her son’s pre-school tuition which she deducted on her 2016 tax return. She also took over $90,000 in cash advances, transferred funds into her personal USAA accounts, hired a maid service, purchased high-end clothing and airline tickets for herself and her family and made a deposits and payments on luxury vehicles. Darnell failed to report any of these funds obtained via the credit cards on her tax returns for the years 2013-2015. Following her resignation in August 2016, Darnell continued to use the victim’s credit cards to pay her moving expenses, obtain additional cash advances and make other purchases until Dr. Cullom discovered the fraud and shut down the accounts.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Howard J. Zlotnick and Brian J. Samuels prosecuted 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.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated December 18, 2018

Financial Fraud