After a slew of lawsuits alleging fraud and a criminal investigation initiated by the federal government, the offices previously held by Smith Advertising & Associates are now in foreclosure.
The company has faced claims of fraud and misrepresentation in lawsuits brought by companies with which it used to do business, according to the Herald Tribune. One company, RMF, contended that Smith Advertising & Associates produced fraudulent invoices to give the false impression that it had numerous clients that owed money to the ad agency. The lawsuit referred to 847 allegedly falsified invoices for a total of $23 million.
In a different suit, Regions Bank alleged that the two owners of Smith Advertising & Associates, a father-son team, had been involved in check kiting, a type of check fraud, which cost the bank $9.8 million.
In March 2012, U.S. Secret Service agents conducted a search at the Fayetteville offices that are now in foreclosure. They confiscated files and computers to continue their investigation into the check fraud allegations.
Shortly thereafter, the ad agency closed down.
In total, three properties are in foreclosure that are associated with the company. The first are the offices on Arch Street where Smith Advertising & Associates was previously located. Cumberland County Courthouse records show over $565,000 was borrowed from First Bank of Lumberton in 2008 to obtain the office space.
A vacant lot next to the office space and a commercial property on Ray Avenue are also in foreclosure. Almost $400,000 was borrowed from New Century Bank to secure those properties.
Source: Fay Observer, “Defunct Smith Advertising offices in foreclosure,” Paul Woolverton, August 9, 2012.
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