Former state senator pleads guilty to bribery

In total, Hutchinson was paid more than $350,000 in charity funds.

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Previously convicted of accepting multiple bribes and falsifying his tax returns, former Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson recently pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. In exchange for official actions, Hutchinson received several bribes, including donations, hotel rooms, and Major League Baseball tickets.

Serving as a state senator in the Arkansas Senate from 2011 to 2018, Hutchinson received a monthly retainer from Preferred Family Healthcare, Inc. (formerly known as Alternative Opportunities, Inc.) from May 2014 until 2017. In exchange for the bribes, Hutchinson performed official acts on behalf of the Springfield, Missouri-based healthcare charity, including holding up agency budgets and drafting and voting on legislation.

In total, Hutchinson was paid more than $350,000 in charity funds. Hutchinson also received hotel rooms and Major League Baseball tickets paid for by the charity, and the use of the charity’s luxury and recreational real estate.

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 an unidentified individual who owned and operated orthodontic clinics throughout the State of Arkansas. 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. Last month, 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.

 On Monday, Hutchinson pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Rush to one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. The former state senator faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole and a $250,000 fine.

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