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FORMER EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING FROM ARKANSAS SPORTS HALL OF FAME

September 6, 2013

Little Rock - Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; and Brian T. Marr, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office, United States Secret Service; announced that Jennifer Smith, 47, of Little Rock, a former employee at the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Brian Miller to stealing nearly $120,000 from the Hall of Fame.

“The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame is an institution where people are honored for their contributions to this state,” stated Thyer. “It is a shame that someone would steal from this organization while seemingly supporting it as an employee. Thankfully, an audit and great investigative work have exposed the perpetrator of this theft and brought her to justice.”

Marr said, "Secret Service Investigations are committed to aggressively identifying those associated with these types of financially motivated crimes. These crimes create economic havoc on the businesses located in our communities. Working with the North Little Rock Police Department and United States Attorney’s Office we ensured that this defendant, was held responsible and accountable for her actions."

Smith pleaded guilty to a one-count Information charging her with access device fraud. Smith used Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame credit cards from 2007 to 2012 to make $118,296.98 in unauthorized personal purchases. The purchases included charges to an athletic club, restaurants, women’s and children’s clothing stores, and charges for out-of-town trips.

Smith’s scheme was discovered in September of 2012 following an audit that was triggered when the Sports Hall of Fame’s bank statement showed a payment to the Little Rock Athletic Club for personal dues in the name of Jennifer Smith.

Access device fraud carries a maximum sentence of not more than 15 years imprisonment and/or a fine of not more than $250,000 and not more than three years supervised release. Sentencing will be set at a later date by the Court.

The investigation was conducted by the Secret Service, with assistance from the North Little Rock Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chris Givens.

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Christopher R. Thyer

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