Former Miami Chamber Vice President Charged With Embezzling Funds

Tuesday, September 3rd 2019, 2:04 pm
By: News On 6

The Ottawa County district attorney has charged a former Miami Chamber of Commerce vice president with embezzlement after she was accused of over-paying herself by nearly $100,000.

An affidavit of probable cause says Brandy Dawn Smith was the VP of Operations in charge of paying bills and doing payroll in 2018 and part of 2019. It says the Chamber received a call from about Smith using the Chamber credit card to pay for hotel room. When confronted, the affidavit said Smith told her employers she made a mistake because the Chamber credit card and her credit card looked similar, and she offered to pay it back in her next paycheck.

Six days after that discussion, Smith booked hotel room in Branson with the Chamber card and was told she needed to resign, court records show. When someone new was brought in to do payroll and expenses, they noticed Smith had paid herself multiple times, even as much as three times in one week, according to investigators.

The affidavit says Smith gave herself a $1,000 bonus and even a $10,000 raise.

She was supposed to get paid 26 times a year but was paid 47 times in 2018 and 34 times in 2019, until she was asked to leave, records show. In all, she is accused of overpaying herself by $97,000 in the two years.

Brandy Smith was employed at the chamber for about 9 years, documents state. Police provided a photo of Smith to News On 6.

The Miami Chamber of Commerce released the following statement:

“The Chamber of Commerce was made aware of possible mishandling of funds by a local business who asks us about the chamber paying for rooms at a local motel with the chambers credit card. The executive board was made aware. The chamber quickly realized this was a much bigger issue so we immediately called the Miami Police Department. The board and staff are working diligently with the police department and the district attorney’s office. This has been a punch in the gut to the employees at the Chamber. The staff has stepped up with a renewed since of purpose and are moving forward with chamber activities. Our group of employees at the chamber has been rock stars!!!”
Jeffery Brown
Vice Chair
Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce