Former Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, who now resides in the City of Faith halfway house in Little Rock, is set to be released from federal detention on Nov. 11, according to the office of Western Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney Dak Kees.
Files was sentenced June 18, 2018, to 18 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III. Files was set to report to the federal minimum security prison in El Reno, Okla., on Aug. 2, 2018, and was ordered to pay restitution of $83,900. He also received three years of supervised release following his prison term.
Files entered a guilty plea on Jan. 29, 2018, to one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of bank fraud. He resigned his Senate seat in early February 2018. According to court records, between August 2016 and December 2016, while serving in the Arkansas State Senate, Files used his State Senate office to obtain General Improvement Funds (GIF) “through fraudulent means and for personal gain,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
He also admitted to submitting a materially false loan application in November 2016 as part of a scheme to secure approximately $56,700 from First Western Bank.
The original release date from prison was Jan. 31, 2020. On Aug. 2, 2019, Files sought to be immediately released to home confinement, citing his good behavior and work to help other inmates.
“Petitioner has led in worship activities and leads a Saturday evening worship time each week, and he has mentored many inmates helping them find purpose, set goals, and put plans together for living productive lives after prison,” Files noted in his hand-written filing to the U.S. District Court in Western Arkansas.
He also noted that he had no disciplinary incidents and “earned 100% of his good time.”
Kees’ office responded Aug. 6 and asked the court to deny Files’ request for early release, with one reason cited being that Files “failed to show he has exhausted all available administrative remedies.” Kees said there are three levels within the prison system Files should have used before seeking remedy from the court. Kees noted that seeking a release remedy in the prison system provides “more complete development of the factual record before the matter is brought into federal court; it gives the reviewing court the benefit of any special knowledge and experience the administrative agency may offer.”
On Aug. 7, Judge Holmes denied Files’ request on the grounds he had not used all his administrative remedies.
Charlie Robbins, a spokesman for Kees’ office, told Talk Business & Politics that Files release date is now Nov. 11, based on a recalculation that included Files’ credits for good behavior while at El Reno. Robbins said Files is participating in a “recovery and re-entry” program at the halfway house that helps inmates return to society.
Files said in his Aug. 2 filing for early release that he plans to renew his general contractor and real estate sales licenses when released.