FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A Fayetteville woman was sentenced Friday (Aug. 23) to 20 years probation and ordered to repay more than $400,000 she embezzled from a Springdale church.
Andra Smith, 41, pleaded guilty in Washington County Circuit Court to theft of property after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.
Smith must pay $50,000 upfront while the remaining $363,000 will be paid out in monthly installments.
Smith, who must also remain on good behavior, faces up to 20 years in prison if she violates her probation.
Smith’s guilty plea was also deferred under Act 346, which allows non-violent, first-time offenders to have their record expunged if they complete their probation.
Smith was arrested in December after a certified fraud examiner found $413,701.78 was missing from First Assembly of God.
Pastor Keith Underhill first became concerned about the church’s accounting in September 2017, when he found several discrepancies in monthly financial statements.
The discrepancies dated back to 2012, including $30,000 that was charged to a church credit card, according to an arrest report.
In June 2018, Underhill and the board confronted Smith, who said in a letter she stole roughly $10,000 starting in 2016.
Church officials continued to review accounting documents and found more than $175,000 had been stolen.
A month later, Smith wrote in another letter her theft began in 2012 and amounted to more than what she previously admitted, according to the report.
A fraud examiner reviewed the church’s financial statements over the summer, including Arvest bank accounts and credit cards, to come up with the final number.