|Updated: 1/26/2011 4:37 pm
||Published: 1/26/2011 4:06 pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A former Harlem Globetrotter elected to the Arkansas Legislature has resigned after he was found guilty in a felony theft case.
A judge ruled that Fred Smith is guilty of theft of property delivered by mistake.
Prosecutors charged Smith last year after an audit found that a school district issued a duplicate payment of $29,250 to a nonprofit group run by Smith and that both payments were cashed.
Smith says he disagrees with the ruling and he intends to appeal the decision and try to clear his good name. His resignation from the Arkansas House goes into effect immediately.
The House decided to seat Smith earlier this month, despite questions about whether he's lived in Arkansas long enough to meet residency requirements.
Statement from Rep. Fred Smith:
Based on the ruling of January 25, 2011, about which I have recently learned, I have submitted my resignation to the Speaker of the House, effective immediately.
I would like to thank the People of District 54 for the opportunity to serve in the Arkansas House of Representatives. While my decision is difficult, this is in the best interest of District 54, the General Assembly and my family.
I respectfully disagree with the ruling. After consultation with my attorney, I intend to appeal this decision and clear my good name.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)