Coronavirus Delays Sentencing in Jeremy Hutchinson Case

Coronavirus Delays Sentencing in Jeremy Hutchinson Case
Jeremy Hutchinson

The news that fraudster Milton “Rusty” Cranford was to be released from federal prison to serve the rest of his sentence at home got us to thinking about former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.

Hutchinson, you surely recall, was ensnared in the same multimillion-dollar Medicaid fraud scandal that took down Cranford, a former lobbyist and health care executive, along with four other former Arkansas lawmakers.

Hutchinson pleaded guilty last summer to charges brought by three U.S. attorney’s offices — in Little Rock, Fort Smith and Springfield, Missouri. He pleaded guilty in June 2019 to conspiring to commit bribery involving former Fayetteville orthodontist Ben Burris and to one count of filing a false tax return. Hutchinson also pleaded guilty in July 2019 to conspiring to defraud Medicaid recipient Preferred Family Healthcare of Springfield.

Cranford’s lawyer had cited coronavirus concerns in seeking his client’s release, asking for Cranford to be allowed to serve the rest of his seven-year sentence at his home in Douglasville, Texas, near Texarkana.

It turns out that the pandemic is the reason that Hutchinson, nephew of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, still has not been sentenced more than a year after his guilty pleas, his lawyer, Tim Dudley, told Whispers. Hutchinson will be sentenced, but “it won’t be anytime soon,” Dudley said last week.

Although Hutchinson, a Little Rock lawyer who surrendered his license last summer after his guilty pleas, still walks free — for now — he nevertheless faces more legal action. The state of Arkansas is seeking to collect almost $25,000 in individual income tax from Hutchinson, April filings in Pulaski County Circuit Court reveal.