Federal grand jurors in Knoxville this month returned a multi-count indictment against two Sevier County deputy clerks and charged them with accepting bribes.

Those jurors charged Brandy M. Thornton, 44, and Roberta Lynne Webb Allen, 55, with two counts of taking cash payments in exchange for an official act.

This, according to a press release that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee published on their website.

The press release did not specify how much money Thornton and Allen allegedly accepted and in exchange for what acts.

The Knoxville-based WATE reported late last week, however, that FBI agents had conducted an ongoing investigation at the Sevier County Courthouse.

The station, quoting a federal indictment, also reported that Thornton and Allen had “the authority and ability to register and title vehicles with the State of Tennessee.”

“The three-count indictment claims that Thornton and Allen 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,’” WATE reported.

“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.”

Allen, the press release said, appeared in court late last week before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton. She pleaded not guilty. Authorities released Allen, pending trial, which court officials have scheduled for December 14.

The press release did not discuss Thornton.

Members of the FBI, the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, the Sevierville Police Department, the Pigeon Forge Police Department, and the Gatlinburg Police Department, among several other agencies, helped investigate Thornton and Allen, the press release said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.