xAMA Chairman Smilie sentenced for embezzlement

Former American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Board Chairman Dal Smilie was sentenced Monday, Feb. 22, to eight months in prison and two years probation for embezzling more than $100,000 through fraudulent travel reimbursement claims submitted to the AMA over a period of years ending in 2007.

Smilie pleaded guilty to felony counts of grand theft by deception and of receiving stolen property in the Fairfield County, Ohio, courtroom of Judge Chris Martin. He was taken directly into custody to begin serving a sentence that could see him request early release after 30 days.

Speaking to Judge Martin before his sentencing, Smilie expressed remorse for his actions.

"I’ve got much to apologize for, and many people to apologize to, including AMA members, AMA staff, my fellow board members and volunteers," he said. "I’ve let them down."

Smilie acknowledged that his fraudulent travel-reimbursement claims stemmed from his time as an AMA board member. "I overstated travel claims," he said. "I co-mingled funds. That’s misappropriation. That’s theft. That’s a breach of trust, and I’m sorry for that. I was an honorable person, and I kind of slid into this. I don’t have good excuses."

Fairfield County Assistant Prosecutor Gregg Marx said after the hearing that the sentence was appropriate, especially in light of the fact that Smilie paid restitution to the AMA for the money in question. "We’re very pleased with the resolution of this case."

AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman echoed those sentiments. "On behalf of the members of the American Motorcyclist Association, we are satisfied that justice has been served, and we are glad to put this matter behind us," he said.