Lawton_UPDATE_The former chair
of the Marie Detty Board says she is not surprised at the indictment of
former director Paul Smith. However, Dr. Joy Snell does say she's
disappointed in him. She was Chairman of the Board when the agency came
under fire for financial irregularities. Smith is indicted on 27 counts
by a federal grand jury in Oklahoma City. Paul Smith is accused of theft
and embezzlement of some $123,000.
Snell told 7News, by telephone,
that Smith's actions are deplorable, and she says she is disappointed that
he would do what he did to such an important service in the community.
She says that because Marie Detty's Board of Directors is a group of
volunteers, they did not have the authority to investigate bank accounts.
Snell says that when the board
asked Smith about finances, he gave them plausible answers to all of their
questions. She says the current director of Marie Detty, Dianne Owens,
has done a spectacular job and is proud that the agency has made it
through such a rough time.
Smith served as the director of
Marie Detty Youth and Family Services Center that administered a Head
Start Program with a federal grant from September of 1989 to August of
The counts include theft and
embezzlement from the non-profit agency's employee benefit profit-sharing
plan, converting funds for his own personal use.
Smith is also indicted for a
scheme to defraud and mail fraud in a contract where Marie Detty sent
thousands of dollars in payments to a ghost company called Paradigm
Associates. Court documents say Paradigm is a company Smith set up to
advise, consult and direct management for Marie Detty, but in this scheme,
it had no employees, no business location and provided no such services.
Other counts involve providing
false information to federal investigators.
If found guilty of the crimes,
Smith would face up to 30 years in prison, and $750,000 in fines.