Former Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to accepting multiple bribes and falsifying his tax returns in order to conceal his crimes. The former state senator is also expected to plead guilty of accepting bribes in a separate case in which Hutchinson and others are accused of participating in a conspiracy to embezzle and misapply the funds of a charitable organization that received federal funds.
Serving as a state senator in the Arkansas Senate from 2011 to 2018, Hutchinson received bribes from an unidentified individual who owned and operated orthodontic clinics throughout the State of Arkansas in exchange for abusing his official position. In 2011, Hutchinson also stole more than $10,000 in state campaign funds for his own personal use and falsified his tax returns between 2011 and 2014 by failing to report multiple sources of income, including $157,000 from four businesses co-owned by the unidentified individual.
In August 2018, the Eastern District of Arkansas initially indicted Hutchinson on 12 charges, including eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. He resigned shortly after being indicted.
On April 11, Hutchinson and several Preferred Family Healthcare executives were charged with participating in a conspiracy from 2005 to November 2017 to embezzle and misapply the funds of a charitable organization that received federal funds. On Monday, the Western District of Arkansas charged Hutchinson with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
The following day, Hutchinson pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and filing a false income tax return in 2011. He also agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in a separate federal case in Missouri.
Next month, Hutchinson is expected to plead guilty in a separate case to accepting bribes in the form of monthly legal retainers and other things of value, from employees and executives of Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. (formerly known as Alternative Opportunities Inc.), a Springfield, Missouri-based healthcare charity. In exchange for the bribes, Hutchinson admitted that he and other elected officials provided favorable legislative and official action for the charity, including directing funds from Arkansas’s General Improvement Fund (GIF).
Earlier this month, a former Preferred Family Healthcare executive pleaded guilty to bribing then- Arkansas State Senator Hutchinson. Former executive vice president Robin Raveendran could face up to five years in federal prison without parole and must pay $25,000 in restitution to the government.