Police investigating civic club's 'financial irregularities'

Conway police are investigating allegations that a former employee of a local non-profit organization stole $10,000 from a business account established under the umbrella of the Sunshine Optimist Club.

The Sunshine Optimist Club was formed with the support of the Conway Noon Optimist Club in 2009 to encourage developmentally disabled adults to participate in civic activities.

Representatives with Independent Living Services, a private agency that assists people with developmental disabilities, would not confirm on Friday the capacity in which Christopher Corte Smith, 38, of Pine Bluff had been previously employed, nor would they confirm how long he had been associated with the agency.

Representatives also declined to comment on the origin of the funds in the business account.

Smith reportedly served as the secretary/treasurer of the Sunshine Optimist Club and was the only non-developmentally disabled club officer.

According to a police report, ILS Executive Director Jackie Fliss reported to police on Wednesday that bank records indicated Smith had been taking money from the account for the last year, withdrawing “large amounts” of cash and writing checks to pay for accessories for his personal vehicle.

In a press release, Fliss said that “financial irregularities” were discovered during the review of “an unrelated matter.”

“As a result, on behalf of some of our consumers who are members of the civic club, we immediately contacted the Conway Police Department which is investigating the matter. No ILS funds were involved,” Fliss said. “We are working with the police and will have no further comment as we do not wish to compromise the ongoing investigation.”

Attempts to contact Smith by phone on Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.

He has not been arrested, and the investigation is ongoing.

(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached at 505-1277 or by e-mail at megan.reynolds@thecabin.net. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net.)

 

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