Knox County District Attorney General - Charme P. Allen

Utility District Employee's Fraud Scheme Leads to Conviction

Posted: 02/27/2020

Prosecutors in DA Charme Allen’s White Collar Unit obtained convictions against a former utility district employee who stole over $8500 from customers.  Sonya Christine Sherrow, 47, was convicted of Official Misconduct, Theft, and two counts of Forgery.  Judge Scott Green set the case for sentencing on April 24.

In a two-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Sean Deitrick and William Bright explained to the jury that Sherrow was a customer service representative for the Northeast Knox Utility District.  Between January and August 2017, Sherrow stole over $8500 from utility customers in two separate schemes.  Sherrow covered up this misappropriation by forging two-hundred and sixty documents called “leak adjustments” which made it appear as if the money had been credited to customers who complained about abnormally high bills.  She also stole other customer payments using a method known to forensic accountants as a lapping scheme.  In a lapping scheme, a person keeps money that should be credited to one customer’s account and then uses a future customer’s payment to cover the deficiency.  The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office investigated the case and arrested Sherrow in 2018.

“Thanks to the assistance of the Comptroller’s Office, this prosecution held Sherrow responsible for a scheme that affected hundreds of citizens in Knox County,” said DA Charme Allen.

Theft and Forgery over $2500 each carry a punishment from two to four years.  Official Misconduct carries a punishment between one and two years.  At sentencing, the State will also seek restitution ordering Sherrow to repay every dollar she stole.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or sean.mcdermott@knoxcounty.org.  For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at www.knoxcounty.org/dag and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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