Former Arkansas Sen. Hutchinson sentenced to a total of 8 years in prison

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,106 views 

Former Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock (photo courtesy of KUAR)

Former Arkansas Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock) will serve eight years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bribery and filing a false tax return. He was sentenced April 25 to four years and two months, adding to the three years and 10 months for a previous sentence.

Hutchinson, 48, is the son of former U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark., and the nephew of former Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson pleaded guilty on June 25, 2019, in the Eastern District of Arkansas to filing a false tax return; pleaded guilty on June 25, 2019, to an information filed in the Western District of Arkansas to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery; and pleaded guilty in the Western District of Missouri on July 8, 2019, to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.

According to court documents from 2010 through 2017, Hutchinson stole and misappropriated thousands of dollars in state campaign contributions for his own personal use and then filed false federal income tax returns from 2011 to 2014 to conceal his conduct.

Tuesday’s sentencing in the Western District of Missouri was for Hutchinson accepting bribes in the form of monthly legal retainers and other things of value from employees and executives of Preferred Family Healthcare Inc., a Springfield, Mo.-based health care charity. In exchange for the bribes, Hutchinson provided favorable legislative and official action for the charity.

In 2022, Preferred Family Healthcare agreed to pay more than $8 million in forfeiture and restitution to the federal government and the state of Arkansas under the terms of a non-prosecution agreement, in which the charity admitted the criminal conduct of its former officers and employees.

Several former executives from the charity, former members of the Arkansas state legislature, and others have pleaded guilty in federal court as part of the long-running, multi-jurisdiction investigation. Other former Arkansas legislators included in the scheme were former Arkansas State Rep. Eddie Cooper and former Arkansas State Rep. Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV.

The FBI, IRS, and the Offices of the Inspectors General from the Departments of Justice, Labor, and the FDIC investigated the cases.