Arkansas Business' 25 Outlaws, Scoundrels & Posers (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

These days, Jenkins is back in federal court after choosing not to respond to an Internal Revenue Service summons. The IRS is investigating him for the tax years 2005 forward.

Jenkins came to our attention way back when investors across Arkansas began accusing him of defrauding them of hundreds of thousands of dollars in elaborate investment schemes. Those civil lawsuits by angry investors drew the attention of criminal investigators, which culminated in Jenkins receiving a 27-month prison sentence following his August 1999 conviction.

18. Mike McNewand Joe O'Banion
Allegations that Funding Support Services Inc. and Southwest Financial Inc. bilked investors of $12 million resulted in a 75-count indictment against Joe O'Banion in February 2001.

The Maumelle businessman was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy and making a false statement. O'Banion was sentenced to 15 months in prison in October 2002 after pleading guilty to one count of failing to notify authorities after learning of illegal activities.

Prosecutors backed off on the charges against O'Banion, convinced that his partner, Mike McNew, was the driving force behind the scheme. McNew pleaded guilty to conspiracy and eight counts of fraud in December 2000, which led to a 20-month prison sentence.

The Arkansas Supreme Court in 2002 reversed a $50 million ruling that P.O. Marketing Inc., another O'Banion enterprise, landed against Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The duo's criminal activity involved fabricating and selling bogus invoices to investors in the factoring business they operated during 1992-99.

19. George Hardy
George Hardy traveled a memorable career path at the nation's largest retailer. Hardy sailed from loss prevention division staffer at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in May 1992 to assistant director of the executive security detail, the company's equivalent of the Secret Service.

Wal-Mart thought it had a former U.S. Navy SEAL helping manage security for its top executives and members of the Walton family. And who wouldn't want the lethal protection of a man who killed 16 men when he was a SEAL, including the dispatch of one with a rolled-up newspaper?

Unfortunately, Hardy never was a SEAL (although he may have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express). In fact, he didn't even have a concealed handgun permit – at least not in Arkansas.

Hardy didn't list having been a SEAL on his résumé when he was hired, but he boasted of his SEAL service during his employment. Hardy had served in the Navy, and it was fellow sea-faring veterans who torpedoed his phony SEAL claims in 2001.

20. H.G. "Jack" Frost
His legacy lived on after H.G. "Jack" Frost left his namesake Little Rock accounting firm. His professional reputation was hammered when the courtroom gavel fell on the 70-year-old businessman in December 2001.



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