Former Arkansas state senator sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for bribery scheme

Former Arkansas state senator sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for bribery scheme

Woods guilty on 15 counts in federal case

www.usdoj.gov WASHINGTON – A former Arkansas State Senator was sentenced today to 220 months in prison for organizing and leading a bribery scheme in which state funds were directed to nonprofit entities in exchange for kickbacks, many of which were funneled through a consultant’s business, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A.

Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Duane “DAK” Kees for the Western District of Arkansas.

On May 3, a jury found Jonathan E. Woods, 41, of Springdale, Arkansas, guilty of 15 counts, including conspiracy, honest services wire and mail fraud, and money laundering. In addition to his prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks of the Western District of Arkansas sentenced Woods to serve three years of supervised release and ordered Woods to pay restitution in the amount of $1,621,500 to the State of Arkansas and two economic development districts including the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District and forfeit $1,097,005. “Jonathan Woods abused his position as an Arkansas State Senator and betrayed the public trust by taking bribes and kickbacks,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “This conviction demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Justice and our federal partners to investigate and prosecute public officials who misuse their authority to benefit themselves at the expense of the citizens they pledged to serve.”

“Today’s sentence is the result of very hard work by the assigned Assistant U.S.

Attorneys and the special agents from the IRS and the FBI,” said U.S. Attorney Kees. “We both respect and appreciate the judgment of the Court and the sentence that Judge Brooks ordered today. This sentence should send a message to the people who would abuse the trust of Arkansas voters and citizens. It should serve as a serious warning to those who would intentionally steal money from taxpayers and use their elected office to both commit and conceal their crimes. As I stated after the jury trial concluded, my office, along with the Criminal Division from the Department of Justice, will continue to investigate, pursue and prosecute public corruption cases in Arkansas in order to ensure the fairness and justice that the people of Arkansas deserve.”

Neal pleaded guilty on Jan. 4, 2017, before Judge Brooks to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and he is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 13.

The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the case. Trial Attorney Sean F. Mulryne of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Elser and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kyra Jenner and Aaron Jennen of the Western District of Arkansas prosecuted the case.

From the U.S. Dept. of Justice

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