Ted Suhl, 50, of Warm Springs has been indicted by a federal grand for bribing a former deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
According to a statement from federal prosecutors, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Arkansas returned the six-count indictment on Wednesday charging Suhl with conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services fraud, three counts of honest services fraud, one count federal funds bribery and one count of interstate travel in aid of bribery.
Suhl's plea and arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 15. He previously denied wrongdoing.
The indictment alleges that Suhl bribed Steven B. Jones, former deputy director of ADHS, to perform acts that benefitted Suhl and his mental health companies and to provide internal ADHS information to Suhl.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the federal Justice Department’s Criminal Division in Washington made the announcement in a news release.
Jones pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. Prosecutors said Jones provided official assistance in exchange for bribes from the owner of two mental health companies.
At the time, prosecutors did not name the companies or others involved in what they called a "conspiracy." But the state Department of Human Services identified Suhl, the owner of Trinity Behavior Healthcare at Warm Springs (Randolph County) and other behavioral treatment facilities, as the alleged perpetrator of the bribes.
According to prosecutors, the scheme began around April 2007, when Suhl, Jones and Phillip W. Carter, a former probation officer in Crittenden County and a West Memphis City Council member, allegedly met at restaurants in Memphis and rural Arkansas for Suhl to request assistance from Jones.
"In exchange for Jones’ agreement to perform official acts, Suhl allegedly paid Jones by issuing checks made payable to the pastor of Carter’s church that Carter and the pastor then deposited and cashed in order to provide cash payments to Jones," according to the news release.
Carter pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal funds bribery and honest services wire fraud in September. He and Jones are awaiting sentencing.