Wayland Baptist CFO Pleads Guilty To Theft

PLAINVIEW (April 23, 2014) James E. Smith, 68, the fired chief financial officer of Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to the theft of more than $1.3 million from the school.

Smith was taken into custody after pleading guilty to felony theft,
Hale County District Attorney Wally Hatch said.

Smith accepted a plea deal in the case that also requires him to pay restitution.

Smith was suspended in March 2013 after allegations he falsified financial documents and embezzled university money over a four-year period.

The wrongdoing was uncovered during a financial review of campus construction.

Smith, who was fired last April, had been CFO of the school since 2001.