Brandon Barber Co-Defendant James Van Doren Pleads Guilty to 1 Count of Money Laundering

James Van Doren, a co-defendant in a federal indictment involving former northwest Arkansas developer Brandon Barber, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of money laundering and agreed to pay $22,000.

In exchange for the plea agreement, Conner Eldridge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District, agreed to drop the six counts remaining against Van Doren, including bankruptcy and wire fraud. Van Doren faces a maximum 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced at a later date.

Van Doren, a New York investment banker and former friend and business associate of Barber, admitted he helped Barber hide $64,000 from creditors in 2008. Barber filed for bankrupcy protection in 2009.

Barber pleaded guilty to three counts on July 31. He was facing 27 counts from two different indictments.

Van Doren and Barber first developed a friendship when growing up in Jonesboro. They later became business associates. But that friendship has soured.

Van Doren sued Barber and co-defendant K. Vaughn Knight on July 19, alleging that he was defrauded by the two as part of a real estate deal that ultimately led to Van Doren being "unnecessarily placed under the scrutiny of federal regulators and law enforcement." The civil case is pending in Washington County Circuit Court.

Knight hasn't filed a plea yet. Other Barber co-defendants are Jeff Whorton, Brandon Rains and David Fisherm, who were part of a separate indictment involving fraud and money laundering, and their trials are scheduled for Oct. 21. 

Sentencing for Barber and Van Doren would likely be delayed until the criminal trial is complete.