ST. THOMAS, V.I. – A local businessman who operated a franchise
under MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. has admitted to embezzling more than $1.4
million from the company.
Smith, 51, of Contant Towers appeared in court Monday morning for a
change-of-plea hearing and stood before V.I. Superior Court Judge Kathleen
Mackay to formally admit to the crime.
faced four charges – grand larceny, embezzlement by fiduciary, embezzlement by
employee and uttering a forged handwriting – in connection with the crime, but
rather than face a jury, he accepted the terms of a plea agreement. Under the
terms of the plea deal, Smith pleaded guilty to the single charge of grand
larceny and the remaining counts against him were dismissed. The plea bargain also requires Smith to pay
restitution to MoneyGram in the amount of $850,000; to be placed on probation
for a period of six years; and to complete 100 hours of community service for
each probationary year.
the guilty plea and has set May 26 as the date for Smith’s sentencing as she
awaits a pre-sentence report.
In commenting on
the case, Attorney General Claude Earl Walker said, “This is an enormous amount
of money that he stole, and this case underscores the continuing challenge in
the Territory of employee-theft cases, whereby, an employee is entrusted with a
thing of value, usually money, and breaches that trust.”
was taken into custody on Nov. 25, 2015, by officers from the Economic Crime
Unit who executed an arrest warrant on him after investigations revealed that
he purloined $1,413,908.02 from MoneyGram.
At the time, Smith owned A&C Xpress Corporation, which was a
licensed agent of MoneyGram, and operated six locations within the Territory.
remains on bail pending his sentencing.
case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General John Tolud.