Former Benton parks administrator pleads guilty to theft and crime fraud
A former administrative assistant for the Benton Parks Department pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of felony computer fraud, falsifying business records and theft of property.
Saline County Circuit Judge Gary Arnold sentenced 58-year-old Kitty Smith to serve 36 months of probation, pay a $750 fine and court costs of $150.
She also must serve 40 hours of community service and make restitution to the city of Benton.
Smith previously was employed by the Benton Parks and Recreation Department, where she was in charge of the Tyndall Park concessions stand for the girls softball program. After discrepancies were noted during the 2011 season, the city of Benton hired local CPA firm Yoakum, Lovell and Co. to review the concessions stand books.
The accounting firm subsequently indicated approximately $6,445 in "unaccounted funds" from the concessions stand revenue.
The accounting firm's review pointed out a lack of paperwork and receipts for transactions related to the cash box used for concessions stand operations. The report stated that purchases were made for concessions stand supplies by Smith using her personal checking account or debit card. Smith would then reimburse the purchase using cash from the concessions stand fund.
Smith was placed on administrative leave and the Benton Police Department began an investigation. Detectives determined that Smith took proceeds from the concessions stand and falsified concession stand spreadsheets to minimize the amount of her theft.
In a letter from Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane to Benton City Attorney Brent Houston, it read that Smith "admitted to purposely and willfully altering financial business records to conceal or modify losses in the concessions account" and that Smith "admitted to purposely taking cash money from the concessions account for her own personal use with the willful intent to deprive the city of these funds. The amount of which is still to be determined through financial records being obtained."