Former Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Employee Waives Indictment

The former assistant executive director of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame waived indictment and pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in connection with stealing $118,300 from the Sports Hall of Fame.

The single count of access device fraud to which Jennifer W. Smith pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of  up to 15 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, but federal sentencing guidelines suggest her actual sentence will more likely be in the range of one year. No sentencing date has been set. Her plea deal includes payment of $70,000 in restitution in 45 days, and if she doesn't that amount will increase.

Smith, 47, used a Hall of Fame credit card as her own between July 2007 and November 2012, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Givens said during the hearing in front of U.S. District Judge Brian Miller.

Smith used the card for such things as clothes, meals at restaurants and while on trips, Givens said.

Smith was fired from the Hall of Fame in December 2012, and a forensic audit was launched on her use of the nonprofit organization's credit cards.

Smith's Little Rock defense attorney Erin Cassinelli declined to say why Smith stole the money.

Cassinelli said, though, that Smith has a theft of property charge pending in Pulaski County Circuit related to the credit card charges. Cassinelli said she expects that charge to be dropped as a result of her plea.