A former Southeast Missouri State University women's basketball coach has been arrested by federal authorities in a multi-state car theft conspiracy that involves more than 100 vehicles. 48-year-old William (B.J.) Smith of Highland, Kansas is one of 16 people who were arrested on a federal indictment charging 21 defendants involved in a multi-state car theft conspiracy. He resigned from Southeast on December 1, 2006 almost one month after he was placed on paid administrative leave by the university for personal reasons, also after an NCAA investigation into the women's basketball program. Smith is the current coach of the Highland Community College women's basketball team. The conspiracy is alleged to have used several different schemes to steal and misappropriate vehicles, commit bank fraud in order to obtain vehicles, and obtain insurance proceeds by staging accidents and filing false theft reports. If convicted, the charges carry penalties ranging from five to 30 years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million.
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