by Josh Dooley, Baxter Bulletin
YELLVILLE, Ark. – Former Flippin Police Chief Dusty Smith now faces up to 20 years in prison after prosecutors filed an amended charge against him accusing him of stealing more than $63,000, according to court documents filed Thursday.
Smith, 38, was booked into the Marion County jail in November of last year on a Class C felony charge of theft.
An affidavit filed in the case shows authorities allege Smith misused a city credit card, racking up $8,147.91 in unauthorized charges beginning in December of last year through the end of October 2017.
Local officials turned over financial records from the city of Flippin to the Arkansas Legislative Audit. An investigator there went through the records and informed local authorities Smith allegedly misused some $63,718.84, almost eight times the amount originally discovered.
The amended affidavit notes Smith had access to government funds through a variety of ways including police accounts, city accounts and drug-buy accounts. The amended affidavit does not state how and where the missing funds were spent.
Originally, Smith had been accused of stealing some $8,147.91 prior to the audit. He had been charged with Class C felony theft which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years upon conviction.
The affidavit says many of the charges were made while Smith was off duty and headed to Florida to work for another company.
The affidavit says the alleged financial crimes came to light after 14th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge requested the Arkansas State Police conduct an investigation.
The affidavit further states that ASP special agent Justin Nowlin received the information regarding the alleged thefts from the city’s keeper of records. That keeper of records is not identified in the affidavit and is only described as a part-time employee.
Smith was fired Nov. 2 via text message, according to city attorney Sam Pasthing, who said an administrative assistant for the department, Nicole Moore, also was fired the same day via text message.
Pasthing said the reason, or reasons, the pair were fired remain under active investigation. The attorney confirmed an investigation is being conducted by the Arkansas State Police.
In May of last year, Smith was serving as chief when he was demoted as part of a settlement in a civil lawsuit claiming Smith, and other law enforcement officers, wrongfully arrested a man.
The city agreed to pay the man $20,000 to settle the case. The felony theft charge against the man was dropped after the case spent six months grinding through the judicial system.
Henry Campfield was hired to replace Smith as chief of the Flippin Police Department. Campfield is a veteran officer who has served with the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office and the Mountain Home Police Department.