Fired Wayland Baptist CFO pleads guilty to theft

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PLAINVIEW, Texas (AP) — A fired chief financial officer at a West Texas university has pleaded guilty to stealing about $40,000 in school money for his personal use.

The Amarillo Globe-News reported Tuesday that ex-Wayland Baptist University CFO James E. Smith faces five years in prison in the plea deal.

Hale County District Attorney Wally Hatch says Smith last week pleaded guilty to felony theft. Hatch on Wednesday didn’t immediately return a message to provide additional details.

Smith was suspended in March 2013 amid allegations he embezzled university money over a four-year period. The wrongdoing was uncovered during a financial review of campus construction. Investigators say Smith falsified WBU financial documents to conceal misuse of the funds.

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

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