Loudon officer demoted after wife pleads to ID theft charge

By Jim Balloch knoxnews.com

The wife of a ranking Loudon County deputy sheriff has pleaded guilty to identity theft after paying some of her bills using a friend's bank account number.

Callie Davis of Lenoir City was sentenced to three years of closely supervised probation.

Loudon County Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen also ordered her to perform 40 hours of community service, pay a Fraud and Economic Crime contribution of $1,000, and to pay court costs. Restitution had already been made to the victim, Christie Kreisher, according to 9th District Attorney General Russell Johnson.

In her court appearance today, Davis publicly apologized to her husband, LCSO Assistant Chief Deputy Jimmy Davis, and to Kreisher.

When Kreisher learned of unauthorized transactions totaling about $2,700 from her bank account, she reported it to the sheriff's office on Jan. 24. Sheriff Tim Guider immediately contacted the district attorney general's office, which asked TBI to conduct an independent investigation.

TBI determined that Jimmy Davis was unaware of his wife's actions because she handled payment of the couples' bills. Since the fraudulent transactions and their discovery all took place over a period of a few weeks in January, "there was not even a full month's cycle where Mr. Davis would have noticed a problem," Johnson added.

But Guider said late this afternoon that Jimmy Davis was going to be demoted to sergeant because of the episode.

"Jimmy Davis has worked his way up the ranks doing an outstanding job," Guider said. "This decision is not meant to punish Jimmy, but to maintain stability in management and confidence among the troops and citizens we serve."

Jimmy Davis was "extremely embarrassed" when he did learn what had happened and took immediate steps to arrange restitution and seek counseling for his wife, Guider said.

"Given the facts of the case and the position that (Jimmy Davis) holds, I advised him that when judgment was rendered (in his wife's court case) that there would be some consequences to discuss."

The various items that were paid by Callie Davis over the telephone using Kreisher's bank account routing number were monthly bills such as cell phone charges and utilities.

Kriesher's pleas to authorities to not prosecute Callie Davis went unheeded.

"I felt that it was necessary to secure a felony conviction on this case, especially in light of Mrs. Davis' prior conviction for a similar action," Johnson said. "She also had 11 worthless check charges that were dismissed (by a prior attorney general) in 2004," Johnson said. "Because of the past history it was obvious to me that Mrs. Davis has issues that need to be addressed and I am glad that her husband is guiding her in getting the help that she needs."

As part of Callie Davis' sentence, Eblen ordered that a probation officer verify that she is continuing with therapy she is currently undergoing. Violation of any aspect of probation may result in its revocation and could mean jail time.

Callie Davis' attorney, Scott Jones, said she was very remorseful and intends to continue in therapy so she can be a good mother and responsible citizen.