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'I don't know where the money went'.

Word began spreading about a multimillion-dollar loan scandal involving Dennis Smiley Jr., soon after he resigned as Arvest Bank's Benton County market president on March 13.

Gary Head, chairman, president and CEO of Fayetteville's Signature Bank of Arkansas, learned of the coming storm in a phone call from Smiley himself.

"He called me and told me," Head said. "I've slept a few days since then, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't the day after he left his job. It's just an unbelievable situation. I've known Dennis since he was 19 years old."

He isn't sure what happened to cause Smiley's financial world to fall apart but wonders if it was a simple case of living beyond his means, which eventually led his friend to rob Peter to pay Paul.

"He didn't go into details, but he said he'd made some mistakes," Head said. "I don't know where the money went. I don't know if he gambled, and I'd be surprised if he had a drug problem. The guy I knew to his core had the keys to my house. I don't know what demons got into his life. "Dennis made some very bad decisions. Hopefully, he gets his life back together."

--George Waldon

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Author:Head, Gary
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 11, 2014
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