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‘Living Beyond His Means’ Catches Up With Dennis Smiley Jr.

3 min read

Dennis Smiley, 52, told the FBI “that he had been living beyond his means for at least 10 years,” according to the plea agreement that he entered last week with federal prosecutors.

Henry Dennis Smiley Jr. — the Jr. matters in this case — pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single count of bank fraud. But the plea agreement identifies 23 banks as his victims, and that doesn’t include Arvest Bank, which had trusted him to be president of its Benton County market.

Twenty of the banks made loans totaling more than $4 million that were secured by the same collateral: a retirement fund worth less than $500,000. Smiley also admitted forging his father’s signature and submitting financial statements that overstated his net worth.

The 23 lenders — some have since been consolidated — made 55 loans to Smiley totaling $6.3 million. Prosecutors did not pinpoint exactly when the borrowing began, but the Bank of Fayetteville made a loan as early as 2007.

When the FBI began investigating in March 2014, the balances owed to the banks totaled almost $5.3 million. First State Bank of De Queen, where Smiley’s father is chairman of the board, was left holding the biggest bag: $630,770 on four loans that originally totaled $632,550.

Not waiting to be indicted by a grand jury, Smiley pleaded guilty to a charge filed directly by federal prosecutors. U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes heard Smiley admit defrauding Delta Trust & Bank, which loaned $245,126 to a company jointly owned by Smiley and his father on Feb. 20, 2014, three weeks before Smiley resigned from Arvest.

The loan from Delta Trust incorporated all three types of bank fraud to which Smiley confessed: He reused the collateral, fraudulently claimed net worth of more than $2 million and forged his father’s signature on various documents.

Smiley agreed to pay restitution for all losses, not just the loss to Delta Trust & Bank, which was subsequently acquired by Simmons First National Bank.

Federal sentencing guidelines suggest 51-63 months in federal prison, although the judge has latitude in sentencing.

Smiley, who was represented by Fayetteville attorney W.H. Taylor, was released on a $10,000 bond and will be sentenced at a later date that has not been set.

Dennis Smiley’s Fraudulent Loans

Lender No. of Loans Maximum Amount of Loan(s) Principal Loss Amount
First State Bank of De Queen 3 $632,550.43 $630,770.13
Bank of Fayetteville 4 $639,847.15 $516,123.77
Signature Bank of Arkansas, Fayetteville 3 $528,500.00 $428,034.62
Benefit Bank, Fort Smith* 5 $357,119.05 $322,524.25
First Security Bank, Searcy 4 $300,800.00 $279,700.73
First State Bank of Lonoke 4 $366,000.00 $278,147.90
Community First Bank, Harrison 6 $572,113.34 $273,070.39
First Federal Bank, Harrison** 3 $265,000.00 $250,599.06
Delta Trust & Bank, Parkdale# 1 $245,126.00 $245,126.00
Today’s Bank, Huntsville 3 $363,313.45 $236,500.43
First Western Bank, Booneville 2 $210,986.66 $196,359.96
First National Bank of Fort Smith 2 $194,258.21 $194,258.21
First Bank, Hampton 2 $180,000.00 $178,797.56
Chambers Bank, Danville 1 $175,000.00 $165,361.00
Integrity First Bank, Mountain Home 2 $185,589.14 $159,781.33
BOKF, Tulsa## 1 $150,000.00 $150,000.00
Bank of the Ozarks, Little Rock 1 $161,000.00 $149,438.92
First State Bank of Russellville 1 $150,000.00 $145,148.07
Liberty Bank, Jonesboro 2 $173,298.10 $145,096.85
Summit Bank, Arkadelphia†† 1 $185,000.00 $120,116.67
Legacy National Bank, Springdale 1 $100,000.00 $100,000.00
Simmons First Bank of Northwest Arkansas, Rogers# 2 $115,075.00 $84,816.88
IberiaBank 1 $50,000.00 $33,057.58
TOTALS 55 $6,300,576.53 $5,282,830.31

*Subsequently acquired by Armstrong Bank of Muskogee, Oklahoma
**Subsequently collaped into Bear State Bank of Little Rock
#Subsequently acquired by Simmons First National Bank of Pine Bluff
##Doing business as Bank of Arkansas Subsequently acquired by Centennial Bank of Conway
††Subsequently acquired by Bank of the Ozarks
Source: Plea agreement between H. Dennis Smiley Jr. and federal prosecutors in the Western District of Arkansas

Marty Cook contributed to this report.

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