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Plea Deal for Dennis Smiley Jr. In the Works

1 min read

It’s been a full year since Arkansas Business broke the news that Dennis Smiley Jr., having suddenly resigned as the Benton County market president for Arvest Bank a few weeks earlier, was the subject of a federal criminal investigation for loan fraud that involved almost every bank that does business in northwest Arkansas.

Now we can report that a plea deal — which Smiley has wanted from the get-go — is nigh. We’ll go out on a limb and predict that he will waive indictment and plead guilty within the next two weeks.

The final tally of his crimes will top $4 million but won’t reach the $4.5 million mark that we reported a year ago.

As we have reported, most of those losses have been paid by Arvest, which reached an undisclosed settlement with 18 of the 20 banks that have sued.

It’s our understanding that, unlike most cases of malfeasance by a bank officer, Arvest was not insured for the losses because Smiley didn’t rip off his own bank. Instead, Smiley repeatedly used his Arvest retirement account, worth about $550,000, as collateral on loans from the other banks.

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