A former Arkansas state senator, a college president, and a consultant were charged in a federal indictment for bribery and fraud scheme involving tens of thousands of dollars in bribes.
The money was allegedly provided to the senator and another legislator in exchange for directing approximately $600,000 in government funds to two non-profit entities, announced federal officials onThursday.
Jonathan E. Woods, 39, of Springdale, Arkansas, was charged with 11 counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of honest services mail fraud and one count of money laundering, officials said.
Woods served as senator from 2013 to 2017.
Oren Paris III, 49, also of Springdale, and Randell G. Shelton Jr., 37, of Alma, Arkansas, were each charged with nine counts of honest services wire fraud and one count of honest services mail fraud, according to authorities.
As alleged in the indictment, Woods served as an Arkansas state senator from 2013 to 2017.
Between approximately 2013 and approximately 2015, Woods used his official position as a senator to send government money, known as General Improvement Funds, to two non-profit entities and advising other Arkansas legislators – including former state representative Micah Neal – to contribute Improvement Funds to the non-profits.
Specifically, Woods and Neal authorized the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, which was responsible for disbursing the Improvement Funds, to award a total of approximately $600,000 to the two non-profit entities.
The indictment further alleges that Woods and Neal received bribes from officials at both non-profits, including Paris, who was the president of a college.
The indictment alleges that Woods initially facilitated $200,000 of Improvement Funds money to the college and later, together with Neal, directed another $200,000 to the college, all in exchange for kickbacks.
To pay and conceal the kickbacks to Woods and Neal, Paris paid a portion of the Improvement Funds to Shelton’s consulting company.
According to the indictment, Shelton then kept a portion of the money and paid the other portion to Woods and Neal. Paris also bribed Woods, the indictment alleges, by hiring Woods’s friend to an administrative position at the college.
For his part in the scheme, Neal plead guilty on Jan. 4, to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
To read the indictment click here: Justice DepartmentWarning: file_get_contents(): https:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_fopen=0 in /hermes/bosweb26a/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151 Warning: file_get_contents(https://plusone.google.com/_/+1/fastbutton?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cjnotebook.com%2Fformer-arkansas-state-senataor-college-president-charged-in-kickback-scheme%2F): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /hermes/bosweb26a/b360/ipg.sbnotebookcom/wp-content/themes/goodnews5/framework/functions/posts_share.php on line 151