SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Two Sevier County deputy clerks are facing federal charges, shedding light on the raid Thursday morning at the Sevier County courthouse.
Brandy M. Thornton, 44, and Roberta Lynne Webb Allen, 55, both of Sevier County, were indicted by a federal grand jury Oct. 6, a day before the FBI was seen conducting “law enforcement actions” at the Sevier County Courthouse. Each are now charged with two counts of taking cash payments in exchange for an official act.
Thornton and Allen are employed as deputy clerks at the Sevier County Courthouse. In their jobs, they had “the authority and ability to register and title vehicles with the State of Tennessee,” according to a federal indictment.
The 3-count indictment claims that Thornton and Allen began in July 2020 “obtained property not due to them and their office, namely cash payments in United States Currency, and food in the Eastern District of Tennessee, from Juan Lopez Gallardo, charged in another instrument…”
Gallardo is one of several people named in federal indictments that allege participation in a stolen vehicle theft ring operating out of Florida and Sevier County, Tennessee and also a cocaine distribution ring operating out of Kodak.
The indictment says all proceeds traceable to the violation that Thornton and Allen allegedly obtained are subject to forfeiture. No financial amount has been released at this time.
“The Sevier County Clerks’ Office is cooperating fully with the FBI,” Sevier County Clerk Karen Cotter said. “It is my understanding that no public funds were misused.”
Allen appeared in court Oct. 7 and entered a plea of not guilty, according to a spokesperson for the United State’s Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Tennessee. She was released pending a trial scheduled for Dec. 14, in Knoxville.
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Law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation include FBI Knoxville High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Rocky Top Task Force, FBI Knoxville Smoky Mountains Economic Crimes Task Force, Sevier County Street Crimes Unit, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, Sevierville Police Department, Pigeon Forge Police Department, Gatlinburg Police Department, Tennessee Department of Revenue – Special Investigations Unit, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office, FBI Miami, Miami Gardens Police Department, Hialeah Police Department, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, and the Medley Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Quencer will represent the United States in the prosecution of this case
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated as new details become available.