Assigned on Briefs June 6, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 14-02525 W.
Mark Ward, Judge.
Danyelle McCullough, was charged with one count of theft over
$1, 000 and one count of forgery over $1, 000 in an
indictment returned by the Shelby County Grand Jury.
Following a jury trial, she was found guilty as charged. The
trial court sentenced Defendant to concurrent sentences of
four years for each count to be served in confinement. In
this appeal, Defendant's sole issue is a challenge to the
sufficiency of the evidence to support the convictions. After
a thorough review of the record and the briefs of the
parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal
Charles Edgar Waldman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P.
Weirich, District Attorney General; and Byron Winsett,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.
T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE.
October 2, 2008, Defendant began working as the sole employee
and manager of AAA Cash Fast located at 5000 Raleigh LaGrange
Road in Memphis. The store was one of three businesses owned
by Gordon Ballinger that provided both check advance loans
and automobile title loans to customers at each store. An
employee from one of Mr. Ballinger's other store
locations would occasionally fill in for Defendant. Mr.
Ballinger testified in detail concerning the intricacies of
his businesses and how the company would "charge
off" any loan that was not paid back or rewritten within
31 days of the due date. Mr. Ballinger testified that he kept
close track of the "charge off" rates at each
store, and he awarded bonuses to employees at stores who kept
that rate below ten percent. He took corrective action when a
store consistently exceeded a charge off rate of ten percent.
Ballinger testified that before Defendant became the manger
of the Raleigh LaGrange store, the charge off rate sometimes
rose to between eleven and twelve percent and then it dropped
back down to less than ten percent. In July 2009, Mr.
Ballinger noticed that Defendant's charge off rate at the
Raleigh LaGrange store was significantly higher than the ten
percent threshold. He noted that "her numbers were going
up into the twenties on occasions." Mr. Ballinger
testified that he had terminated previous employees for
having numbers that high but because he and his wife knew
Defendant they wanted to "give her the benefit of the
doubt" and help her be successful. Mr. Ballinger talked
with Defendant, who claimed that she was not adequately
trained by manager Gloria Jones, which surprised Mr.
Ballinger because "Gloria had been part of the training
for everybody that we've hired in the last fifteen
years." Defendant then asked to be retrained. He
transferred Defendant to another store to be trained by store
manager Dorothy Wilder. Mr. Ballinger testified that after
Defendant left the Raleigh LaGrange store for retraining, the
charge off numbers dropped to below ten percent while a clerk
from another store worked there. Defendant returned as
manager of the Raleigh LaGrange store on August 24, 2009. She
told Mr. Ballinger that she had learned a great deal from Ms.
Wilder and that Ms. Wilder had taught her about
Ballinger testified that the charge off rate at the Raleigh
LaGrange store began to rise three to four weeks after
Defendant returned as the manager. He did not immediately
notice the increase due to several urgent situations that
occurred during that time. Mr. Ballinger testified that he
finally noticed the problems with Defendant's charge off
rates on January 25, 2010. He noted that the rate was between
seventeen and nineteen percent.
Ballinger and two other employees reviewed the files at the
Raleigh LaGrange location and discovered evidence of rampant
fraud and theft. Defendant refused to come in and discuss the
situation with Mr. Ballinger, and she was suspended while
police conducted their investigation. Mr. Ballinger noted
that there were discrepancies in more than forty of the
accounts at the Raleigh LaGrange location. The State
presented evidence at trial concerning nine of those accounts
in which Defendant falsified loan documents and pocketed
money supposedly loaned to the individuals whose names were
on the documents. Defendant was the only person working in
the Raleigh LaGrange Store when the money was taken. The
total amount taken from the nine loans was $2, 580.00.
claimed that Mr. Ballinger fired her before she had an
opportunity to speak with him. She denied pocketing the money
or signing a check without the customer's permission.
Defendant further claimed that Mr. Ballinger had authorized a
mutual friend to sign loan documents and rewrite checks for
him. She also said that other employees often covered for her