Sunday, April 14, 2024

Former Williamsburg woman sentenced to 5 years for stealing $500,000 from eye care business

A former Williamsburg woman was sentenced Tuesday to more than five years in prison for stealing $514,000 from an area ophthalmologist.

Sherea Darnell, 35, worked at Riverside Medical Group’s Cullom Eye and Laser Center in Williamsburg from 2012 to 2016 as a practice manager, during which time she used three of doctor Robert Cullom’s credit cards for personal expenditures, according to a Department of Justice news release.

During those four years of employment, Darnell obtained access to Cullom’s Wells Fargo Advisors bank accounts, which she used to pay off the credit cards without permission.

One account was designated to pay for medical equipment.

Prosecutors said Darnell used Cullom’s credit cards to pay for her son’s preschool tuition, which she deducted from her 2016 tax return. She also took more than $90,000 in cash advances and used them to hire a maid service and purchase high-end clothing, airline tickets for herself and her family, and luxury vehicles.

Darnell did not report any of the funds on her tax returns.

After resigning from her manager position at the eye-care practice in August 2016, Darnell continued to use Cullom’s credit cards for moving and other expenses. 

Darnell was convicted by a federal jury in May on charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and filing false federal income tax returns, according to the news release.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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