KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A now-former Sevier County clerk accused of providing car titles for stolen vehicles in exchange for cash and food has agreed to plead guilty in the case.
Roberta Lynne Webb Allen faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
An investigation that began in spring 2020 into a drug trafficking organization suspected of distributing cocaine in Sevier County and elsewhere ended Oct. 7 with 11 arrests and FBI agents raiding the clerk’s office at the Sevier County Courthouse. James Carroll Hickman entered a guilty plea earlier this week.
Allen signed an agreement Feb. 22 pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge. The plea agreement document states the defendant is considered a “minimal participant” in the crime. Other counts in the original indictment will be dismissed.
Plea agreement paperwork says Allen, along with Brandy M. Thornton, were clerks in the Sevier County Clerk’s office when they each agreed to accept cash payments from Juan Lopez Gallardo to title and register vehicles with the state of Tennessee.
A wiretap recording was made of Allen and Gallardo talking about registering and/or titling motor vehicles, according to the documents. In that recording, Allen agreed to meet Gallardo in the parking lot of a Sevier County restaurant to deliver car titles and/or registrations. Gallardo was “intercepted instructing a subordinate to pay the defendant $100.”
Unknown to the defendant, many of the vehicles that Gallardo sought and received official titles for from the clerks were stolen from owners in Florida and other states and brought to Tennessee, the document states.
Allen will be sentenced at a later date. Thornton remains jailed.