Ex-Arkansas Lawmaker Pleads Guilty in Charity Scheme

by Associated Press  on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 3:19 pm   1 min read

Eddie Cooper

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A former Arkansas state representative has pleaded guilty to his role in an embezzlement scheme involving a Springfield, Missouri-based charity.

Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Eddie Wayne Cooper, of Melbourne, Arkansas, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to embezzle more than $4 million from Preferred Family Healthcare.

Prosecutors say Cooper and several executives of the nonprofit charity used the embezzled money for political contributions, unreported lobbying and personal expenses.

More: Go here for more analysis and how this case connects to other Arkansas corruption cases.

Cooper, who was an Arkansas state lawmaker from 2006 to January 2011, received at least $387,501 from a lobbying firm and at least $63,000 in kickbacks from the conspiracy. He was ordered Monday to forfeit those gains.

Prosecutors say five additional people — including executives of the charity — are considered co-conspirators but have not been charged in the fraud scheme.

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