JUDGE: Former Housing Director Can't Leave State

A former housing authority director, accused of pocketing public money, has been ordered not to leave the state.

Rhonda Smith made her first court appearance Thursday morning in Carteret County District Court.

She was arrested earlier this week on four counts of embezzlement and two counts of corporate malfeasance. Police say the total amount missing from the Beaufort Housing Authority is almost $80,000.

In court, the judge told the 53-year-old woman she cannot travel out of state and that she cannot get a passport. Smith is free on a $100,000 bond.

Her next court date is March 5th.


A former housing authority director is accused of stealing thousands of dollars in public money.

Rhonda Smith of Beaufort is charged with four counts of embezzlement and two counts of corporate malfeasance.

Police say the investigation began in November when Smith was questioned about improper expenditures on the authority's credit card.

The 53-year-old Smith was placed on leave as executive director of the Beaufort Housing Authority on December 8th.

Police say part of their investigation revealed that Smith was "grossly overpaid" in the amount of $44,160.27 between 2007 and 2009. Authorities also say she misused credit cards amounting to almost $13,000, and gave herself extra vacation amounting to $6393. The total amount of money allegedly misused is $79,279.95.

The SBI assisted with the case.

Police say they found few effective internal controls in place at the housing authority. Even though the board voted in 2007 to require two signatures on all checks, police say that never happened and all checks were signed by Smith.

Authorities say Smith reviewed her own credit card statement without any independent review.

Last year police say Smith was supposed to receive 120 hours of vacation, but instead she took 310 hours. That same year police say she bought an airline ticket with authority funds and later exchanged it for a round-trip ticket to Honolulu for vacation.

Police also say Smith paid her personal taxes to the IRS with a housing authority credit card, as well as drafting a payment from their checking account. The total there was $9,132.25.

Smith posted a $100,000 bond and was released from jail.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by SHERYL Location: ATLANTA on Jan 22, 2010 at 09:35 AM
    I REALLY FEEL PEOPLE TAKE LIFE FOR GRANTED WHAT GOES IN THE DARK WILL COME TO LIGHT , ITS A WHOLE LOT MORE GOING BE EXPOSED BEFORE ITS ALL OVER , THIS STUFF BEING GONG ON FOR YEARS AN NO ONE SAID ANYTHING BECAUSE OF RACE , AN IF NO ONE DECIDE TO STAND UP AN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT IT WILL CONTINUE TO GO ON , I'LL PEOPLE ARE HURTING IN THAT COMMUNITY ESPECIALLY THE BLACKS , AN U KNOW WHAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH CHANGE HAS TO TAKE PLACE U CANT DO WRONG AN EXPECT TO PROSPER FROM IT THATS NOT GOD , BUT IF WE DONT KNOW NOTHING WILL GET DONE IN THIS MATTER , WATCH GOD IS DISCLOSING HISSELF THIS SEASON ,ITS NOT RIGHT TAKING FROM THE EDLERLY AS WELL THINK ABOUT WHAT U DO BECAUSE ACTION IS LOUDER THAN WORDS IT WILL COME TO SURFACE ....THATS WHY THE POOR PEOPLE HERE WASNT GETTING HELP BECAUSE SITUATION LIKE THIS MISUSING GOVERNMENT FUNDING .ITS JUST NOT RIGHT..SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE ABOUT THIS , THESE RURAL AREAS WAS AWARDED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO HELP THE POOR PEOPLE THERE MONEY BEING MISHANDLED SAD
  • by ENC Location: Morehead City on Jan 21, 2010 at 05:05 PM
    I'll bet that this woman will lawyer up, case will get continued several times (gets out of the public eye that way), she'll get the $ to pay the HA back, plead guilty to some lesser charge(s) and judge will order probation only--no jail time. Do you think any of the poor residents of the HA would get such a deal if they got into trouble with the law?
  • by Moose Location: Carteret on Jan 21, 2010 at 03:54 PM
    Data Man, This woman is an alleged criminal, no mention political affilation unless you are inferring race. Data Man perhaps I could challenge you to a spelling bee as well. Many people of all political affilations are subject to the abuses of power. Take Floyd McKissick in the Soul City debacle if you wish to talk about political parties. Please be more careful and consider that the criminal element, such as with our former Governor, may be of a different party than the Republican party.
  • by HUD Location: Greenville on Jan 21, 2010 at 03:06 PM
    Has anyone ever read the regulations/laws that govern HUD housing? They are extremely complicated. If she was not interested in actually being in the office enough to learn the rules, I wonder how often she screwed up application of the rules and how many people she evicted inappropriately? She is a disgrace. Probably takes potshots at the so-called "welfare cheats" and yet was stealing from the taxpayers at the same time.
  • by Data Man on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:35 PM
    I bet she is a republican that talks about people should work for a living and not get assistance. This woman has taken over 80,000 from the goverment. A minority would never get that chance because they would have never been in that position to do so. Who checked behind her when she was making these chargers? Noone did because of her race, things were allowed to just go on! Just like the big whigs in the insurance and banking. They continue to still from the little man and pay big bonuses! Why dont the republican party fight against this!? If they did they would get my vote and many other Democrats would vote for them as well! Republicans are getting paid to support this kind of behavoir!!
  • by pete Location: grifton on Jan 21, 2010 at 11:53 AM
    I would like to see an independant audit of the Pitt,lenoir,beaufort and greene county tax departments and see what turn up.
  • by Not Sue on Jan 21, 2010 at 06:51 AM
    Housing authority is the federal government. I would think many, many times before I said all people who work for the state are lazy. If that is the case, no law enforcement is accomplished, no kids are taught, and no higher learning (college)is taking place in this state. Think and know before you speak.
  • by edmundson Location: wilson on Jan 21, 2010 at 06:42 AM
    hud put MRS SMITH in jail.housing authority can used $80.000 she is a crook if she do not go to jail let work off like clean floor
  • by justice on Jan 21, 2010 at 03:21 AM
    Isn't this what the goverment does to US everyday? Each and every elected goverment official, and every goverment employee with access to money, needs to be investigated the same, wait, we dont have enough beds at prison Hilton. nevermind.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 21, 2010 at 03:09 AM
    To Sue - AMEN! THE BOARD NEEDS TO BE CLEANED OUT TOO. People who work for the State ARE LAZY!
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