Former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson was sentenced Tuesday to 50 months in federal prison in a corruption case that took down public officials in Arkansas and Missouri.
The sentence adds to 46 months of prison time Hutchinson received in December for tax fraud. He now faces eight years behind bars.
Hutchinson pleaded guilty in 2019 to accepting more than $157,000 in bribes from a Fayetteville dentist, Dr. Ben Burris, whose intent was to influence Hutchinson's actions as a legislator. Hutchinson also admitted to accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from a health nonprofit, Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. of Springfield, Missouri.
In exchange for bribes and kickbacks, Hutchinson and other elected officials provided favorable legislative and official action for Preferred Healthcare, such as directing funds from the state’s General Improvement Fund, authorities said.
Hutchinson, the nephew of former Gov. Asa Hutchinson, pleaded guilty in the scheme along with former state Sen. Jon Woods and former state representatives Eddie Cooper and Hank Wilkins IV. Woods was sentenced to 18 years in prison and Wilkins was received a year and one day behind bars. Cooper is still awaiting sentencing.
Lobbyist and former Preferred Healthcare head of operations Milton "Rusty" Cranford was sentenced to seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal program bribery. Other former executives at the nonprofit have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay bribes and kickbacks.
Hutchinson filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in December because he was being held in the Pulaski County jail for failing to pay child support. At the time, Hutchinson claims he had less than $50,000 in assets and between $100,000 and $500,000 in debt.
The case was dismissed at his request with plans to refile in the future.