Former Wayland CFO pleads guilty to theft

James E. Smith, fired last year for alleged financial mismanagement at Wayland Baptist University, has pleaded guilty to misusing funds.

By Bob Allen

The former chief financial officer at Wayland Baptist University received five years in prison after pleading guilty to using university funds for personal expenses.

james smith waylandThe Amarillo Globe-News reported April 22 that James E. Smith, fired last year by the Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated school located in Plainview, Texas, entered his guilty plea April 17.

University officials filed a civil lawsuit last April alleging that Smith confessed to embezzling about $40,000 over a four-year period. He allegedly used the money to pay personal debts, including credit cards, and falsified records to conceal the misuse of funds.

University officials began an internal investigation after a financial review of one campus building renovation and construction of Jimmy Dean Hall, a new men’s dormitory. The dormitory is named after a country music singer and television host popular in the 1960s, now better known for the sausage company he founded in 1969.

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