Former Scottsdale schools CFO indicted on felony charges

Posted at 5:23 PM, May 14, 2018

The former Chief Financial Officer for Scottsdale Unified School District has been indicted for breaking Arizona's conflict of interest laws.

According to the State Attorney General's office, 61-year-old Laura Tenison Smith faces 11 felony charges, which include 2 counts of fraudulent schemes and practices and 8 counts of conflict of interest. 

In the indictment, Smith is accused of approving purchase and charge orders for a consulting company that Smith and her sister had ownership interests in. The order approvals allegedly took place between February and October in 2017.

Smith resigned from her position in January of 2018.

Special agents with the AG's Office and auditor general investigated the case. 

SUSD's governing board issued the following statement in response to the indictments against Smith:

"The Scottsdale Unified School District is aware of felony indictments tonight against former SUSD CFO Laura Smith. These indictments are the result of a long and careful investigation by the Arizona Attorney General's office, and we appreciate their diligent work. 

In late 2017, SUSD asked outside counsel to conduct an investigation into Ms. Smith and alleged conflicts of interest. SUSD shared the findings of that investigation with the AG's office and will continue to cooperate, fully, with the Attorney General.

As part of the Attorney General's investigative work, the Auditor General has prepared a report that, in part, provides recommendations to help avoid future conflict-of-interest violations by any SUSD employee. We appreciate that guidance as we work to repair broken systems and ensure employee compliance with all rules and regulations.

This has been an extremely difficult chapter in SUSD's history.  While we are anxious to close that chapter and move forward, we also want to be sure we understand exactly how those mistakes happened, so we can learn from the past and do better in the future."

Barbara Perleberg

SUSD Governing Board President