Judge lowers bond by $40K in embezzlement case
By Ken Childers
A judge ordered a lower bond for a woman charged with embezzling more than $35,000 from the Okfuskee County Jail inmate trust account over an eight-month period beginning last December.
Kenna Lavon Smith, who served as a secretary/administrator for the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Department when the alleged embezzlement occurred, was arrested on July 23 and booked into the McIntosh County Jail. Bond was initially set at $50,000, but on July 31, District Judge Maxey Riley ordered that the bond be reduced to $10,000.
According to court records, Smith was arraigned on July 31and is due back in court on Thursday, Aug. 6 for a pre-hearing conference. Smith is represented by Curt Allen of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, which provides legal counsel at the expense of the state.
Sheriff Jim Rasmussen wrote in an affidavit that Smith abruptly left her post at his office on July 13, one day before Oklahoma State Auditors were expected to begin conducting an audit of the department. The financial ledger for fiscal year 2019-2020 was missing.
Rasmussen contacted the state auditor’s office, which suggested that because the ledger was missing, he acquire the inmate trust account bank statement for June 2020, the last month of the fiscal year, to determine if any criminal activity had occurred. One of Smith’s duties was to remove money from two kiosks located in the jail and conduct a two-person count of the money, then deposit the funds into the inmate trust account.
According to the affidavit, a review of the June 2020 inmate trust bank statement revealed that the only deposits made were from the internet-based telephone system and no cash deposits had been made by Smith during June, although documents showed that she had withdrawn $6,207.87 from the kiosks that month.
A review of additional documents revealed that 71 kiosk withdrawals were made between December 2019 and July 21, but only 13 deposits had been made to the inmate trust account during that time. The auditors estimated that $35,387.64 had been collected from the kiosks by Smith but not deposited. According to Rasmussen, no inmates were victimized and the missing funds were commissary profits.
A probable cause affidavit for Smith’s arrest was issued on July 23 and she was arrested later that day. According to Rasmussen, Smith admitted to the embezzlement and she was jailed in McIntosh County for her protection.
Smith began working for Okfuskee County in August 2018. She previously worked for the Golden Pony Casino, serving four years as marketing director then as a compliance officer. She also worked previously for the Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Department.