Former Arvest Officer Dennis Smiley Under Investigation for Loan Fraud

by George Waldon and Gwen Moritz  on Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2014 12:01 am  

Dennis Smiley, as a trustee of the Jones Trust of Springdale, participated in the March 2013 groundbreaking ceremony for the Webb Memorial Children Park on the campus of the Center for Nonprofits at St. Mary's in Rogers. Smiley resigned from the trust's board last month.

But until recently the banks did not know that Smiley pledged the same collateral over and over again with multiple lenders. The alleged scheme allowed Smiley to use an asset valued in February at just under $400,000 to help borrow more than $4.5 million.

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Arkansas Business' sources say that the loans secured by the stock were generally in the $200,000 range and that Smiley also received unsecured loans from some of the banks.

Nine lenders filed UCC financial statements in connection with loans to Smiley secured by uncertificated Arvest stock:

  • First National Bank of Fort Smith;
  • First State Bank of Northwest Arkansas in Huntsville;
  • First Western Bank of Booneville;
  • First State Bank of De Queen, where Smiley's father, Dennis Smiley Sr., is chairman of the board;
  • Integrity Bank (formerly First National Bank & Trust) of Mountain Home;
  • Chambers Bank of Danville;
  • The Bank of Fayetteville;
  • First Security Bank of Searcy; and
  • Delta Trust & Bank of Little Rock, which is being acquired by Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff.

According to sources, other banks made similar loans but did not make UCC filings. Such filings aren't mandated.

The probe also is looking into allegations that Smiley used stakes in limited liability companies as part of the loan fraud scheme, according to sources.

Signature Bank of Arkansas in Fayetteville filed a UCC financial statement on a loan to Smiley, but it was linked with a 20 percent stake in HDS Holdings LLC used as collateral on a September 2009 loan.

No other UCC filing is on record in connection with his ownership of HDS Holdings. Such public filings aren't mandated with this type of collateral either.

Smiley's sudden departure has left Arvest without a local-level CEO for the Benton County market.

"We are in the process of selecting a replacement president for Arvest Bank, Benton County, and will make an announcement sometime in April," Kincy said. "Arvest has many talented individuals and we're confident our new president will be a good leader, sound banker and someone who understands and lives the Arvest culture of serving the needs of the local community."



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