Home E-Weekly September 26, 2017

Facility Admin Charged with Embezzling $500K

Published: September 25, 2017

EMBEZZLEMENT CASE The former administrator at Collum Eye and Laser Center in Newport News, Va., allegedly embezzled nearly $500,000.

A former administrator at a surgical eye center in Newport News, Va., has been charged with embezzling nearly $500,000 from her employers. Indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury, Sherea Darnell, 33, faces 40 felony counts of fraud, including bank fraud, wire fraud, use of unauthorized access device and filing false tax returns.

For 4-plus years, she worked as the administrator at Collum Eye and Laser Center. In Ms. Darnell's time there, she was given access to 2 company credit cards which were revealed to have been used for personal expenses, including tuition for her son's private school, dining, high-end clothing, jewelry, home cleaning service and travel both domestic and abroad. Cash advances amounting to $90,000 were also made on the cards. Not until after Ms. Darnell's resignation in September 2016, however, did Collum begin to investigate the use of these cards. Officials at Collum declined a request for comment.

Ms. Darnell faces a maximum of 30 years for each count of bank fraud, 20 for each wire fraud and 3 for every false tax return, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice. If convicted, though, federal sentencing will likely fall below the maximum.

Joe Madsen

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