The Gordon County Grand Jury convened this morning and indicted Gordon County School Board member Ricky E. Smith on 19 total counts, including seven counts of financial transaction card theft, nine counts of identity fraud and a count each of theft by taking, criminal trespass and influencing a witness. The indictments stem from his arrest on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 after a theft of currency and credit cards was reported from a private residence in the Red Bud community. The theft was reported on Aug. 12, 2016.
The indictments indicate that between Aug. 5 and Aug. 17, 2016, Smith obtained without consent the wallet of Linda Joy Poole. According to the documents, Smith received an American Express Blue Card, an American Express Green Card, a Macy's credit card, a Kohl's credit card, a Bank of America debit card and two Fidelity credit cards without Poole's consent with the intent to fraudulently use the cards. The documents also state that Smith "did willfully and fraudulently possess with intent to fraudulently use" a State of Georgia Driver's License and a Social Security Card, both belonging to Poole.
Smith was also indicted on a count of theft by taking for taking approximately $200 in U.S. currency, along with a count of criminal trespass due to taking the wallet without authorization.
In the count of influencing a witness, the indictment reads that sometime around Aug. 15, 2016, Smith did "knowingly use intimidation towards Linda Joy Poole, a witness, to investigator Mike Hill, a law enforcement officer, relating to the commission of a criminal offense" by contacting Poole and "Demanding that she get criminal charges dropped regarding the taking of her wallet and its contents and the unauthorized use of her financial transaction cards" in the wallet.
According to a statement last year from the Gordon County Sheriff's Office, the items were allegedly stolen from a purse inside the residence. The cards were subsequently used in a number of transactions at businesses in Dalton the same day. The credit card providers notified the victim of the theft of unauthorized transactions.
Detectives with the GCSO and Dalton Police Department worked together on the investigation. Dalton Police were able to identify the person using the credit card as Smith, with an address of 582 Brown Farm Road in Calhoun, by using video surveillance film.
"Gordon County Schools has been made aware of the indictment of Ricky E. Smith," said the schools in an official statement. "As was released when the incident first occurred, the arrest had no connection to Mr. Smith’s official capacity on the Board of Education, and no public funds were compromised as a result."
Smith is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, March 30, 2017.