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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Monday, June 29, 2015

Former Community College Employee Charged With Theft For Using College Funds To Purchase $179,500 Of Items And Selling Them Online

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A criminal bill of information was filed today in federal court charging Mary S. Sherrill, 52, of Hickory, N.C. with theft of a program receiving federal funds, for using her employer’s funds to purchase approximately $179,000 worth of items and selling them over the Internet, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Robert W. Rolin, Jr. Acting Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Office joins Acting U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents, from about October 2010 to December 2014, Sherrill was employed by Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory as purchasing coordinator.  Court records show that as the college’s purchasing coordinator, Sherrill was authorized to place orders for equipment and other goods on behalf of the college and to pay using the college’s funds.  Filed court documents show that Sherrill fraudulently and without authority used the college’s funds to purchase computer hard drives, printer cartridges, and other small computer-related items.  According to court records, Sherrill then sold the items via the Internet using her personal eBay seller account and kept the profits.  Court records show that Sherrill purchased approximately $179,000 worth of items using the college’s monies.

A signed plea agreement was also filed in federal court today, and Sherrill is expected to enter her guilty plea before a U.S. Magistrate judge when the hearing is scheduled by the Court. The charge levied against Sherrill carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  As part of her plea agreement, Sherrill has agreed to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined by the Court.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated June 29, 2015